A Principal Who’s Here to Stay

Edie Koehlert, Staff Writer

 “My song is about Grendel”, Mr. Freeman stated as he passionately explained how he attends the singer-songwriter club every week to meet his new students and be a part of high school culture. The task was to write a song about a traditional villain in a story, he wrote about the villain in the book most students would sigh at when a teacher pulled out Beowolf

As an English teacher in CSJ and the principal at Edgemont, Mr. Freeman has experience with reading Beowulf, but bringing it back to the kids. He uses the same skills no matter what his job title is because ultimately, it’s about being with kids. “I didn’t get into this to sit in an office all day…” he articulates, “I’m a big relationships person”. Principal Freeman even keeps drop-in office hours open every day for anyone who needs or wants to talk to him.

As students, we have watched the revolving door of the administration in Montclair as onlookers without much to say. It’s needless to say it’s time for stability. Finally, we’re at a time where we have both a superintendent and a principal at the high school, albeit the pandemic isn’t the easiest time for new administrators. Mr. Freemen hopes to be a fixture of MHS for a long time to come, striving to be what the school needs. 

Besides the endless COVID protocols and safety measures that consume tons of time, Mr. Freeman wants to “make sure we’re meeting all needs” by investing more in practical arts and trade programs throughout the high school. The equipment is outdated and needs more revamping than the school has put up in the past, investing in the practical arts is a necessity for kids interested in following trade careers. 

Supporting the base of the high school is a move that will take time, but is critical in keeping everyone involved. Another key part of Mr. Freeman’s plan to “bring us back to that sense of pride”. Another understood feeling most have at the high school is that there is absolutely no school pride. Our sports teams are talented and we have 2,000 kids that could be cheering, yet most of the time we do not show up. 

With Instagram accounts like memeclair and mountie.up, kids have been doing the work to get people engaged, but it will start with the atmosphere. It will start with a stable administration and a principal who does things like attend Zoom club meetings and keep his office hours open for anyone to pop into. “Student need to feel safe… that’s my goal”. His exuberance was completely palpable. 

“This is my home,” Principal Freeman said as he described his joy to be back.