Spanish Fort, Ala. (WKRG) — Every Christmas, students at Spanish Fort High School—more than twelve hundred of them, get a personal, hand-written note from Assistant Principal Justin McNellege.

“I want the students to know that I’m here for them–I want to be more than just an authority figure, I want to be somebody in their corner. And as an assistant principal, my net is way broader, you know, there are twelve hundred students here,” said McNellege.

It’s an effort that is as commendable as it is hand-cramping.  And it is definitely appreciated by not only students but fellow teachers and staff as well.

While McNellege sends out his letters, students and others write back.  There is a display board of some of the messages he’s received from people he’s helped educate in his office.
McNellege has been an educator for twelve years–starting as an English teacher.  He’s been at Spanish Fort for the past four years.

“Spanish Fort is a really special place.  We strive for something that we’re trying to reach called the standard and I’m honored to be part of that. And I’m lucky to work with some of the best in my opinion,” he said.

He says as an assistant principal he has the freedom to drop in on classes–and be a cheerleader for students.

“You know, it’s one of those things where every single day I don’t know what that day entails–it’s a lot of walking in classrooms, trying to be visible–it’s a lot of coaching up students and whatever else the world throws at us.”

Our congratulations to Justin McNellege and Spanish Fort High School for a job well done.