“In a school,” Spurlock said, “I always say you have two different types of people. You have settlers and you have pioneers. You can never have too many pioneers, and you do not want too many settlers. It’s those who strive to get better every day that keep you on your toes. They inspire you to look beyond what you have accomplished and continue to seek ways to improve.”

Since taking over as principal at Oakland High School in September 2008, Bill Spurlock has done anything but settle.

He’s been a pioneer advocating on behalf of students and public education. And, perhaps, more importantly, he’s helped Oakland restore its pride in the red, white and blue colors of the school known on the playing field as the Patriots.

Spurlock accomplished this by identifying internal personnel who displayed leadership qualities, empowered them in what he termed a “bottom-up approach” and together they set goals. Those goals are not just preparing students for college — “not everybody has to go to a four-year university” — but also trade school or to successfully find employment as a skilled laborer in the local workforce.

This approach has allowed students and administrators to develop “a sense of pride” in what they have accomplished together.

To read more on Spurlock and the accomplishments happening at Oakland, click here.

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