Chad Gee interests me. Why? Because his philosophy of education and mine are very similar, I suppose and, of course, that means that he places students above anything else. To me, that is all important.
Mr. Gee is only in his second year as the principal of Comanche High School, having come to CHS from Hillsboro ISD. He’s a husband, father of two, and by his own admission, driven to be the best he can be in all areas of his life. Of course, people like that tend to expect the best out of everyone else as well, don’t they? And let’s be honest. They also tend to drive others a little crazy.
In a school setting, that can be a very good thing. It can also be a difficult thing.
A few weeks ago, we wrote about the CHS CHIEFS (Commitment, Honor, Integrity, Excellence, Fearless, Service), a program instituted by Gee as a way for older students to work with younger students, while serving as a role model as well.
Today, I want to share another of Gee’s acronyms with you: TRIBE (Truth, Responsibility, Integrity, Brotherhood, Excellence).
“I can’t claim to have created the name. Our teachers came up with that. I simply put out the word that anyone interested in our core beliefs might want to come to a meeting to discuss those things. TRIBE is what they came up with at that time.
“TRIBE is actually a mentoring program. This past summer, it hit me that we had the possibility to tie our core beliefs and a mentoring program all together.”
According to Gee it is a bit of a “If this is where our students are, and this is where we think they should be, how do we get them there?” kind of idea.
For years, Rickey and I have believed that schools should run like a business, with the profit/loss margin registering the success of children. If a particular school cannot turn a profit (successful children), then that school should fold …just as its counterpart in the business world would do. Gee is the first person I’ve found who puts it in those terms.
“If we want to move from good to great, how do we get there? I look at school as a business. The world is ever changing and our society is ever changing, and yet schools want to stay static. Instead, schools should do what businesses do…change to improve the profit.
“People fear change, and they hold very strongly to beliefs because it is what they know. To look outside those beliefs is hard for people. Getting past the resistance is the hard part.
“The environment on this campus is much more relaxed than it was last year because I think people are beginning to understand the direction we are moving in, and they are getting more comfortable with it and the belief system that drives it.”
I understand perfectly the apprehension that goes along with bringing new people and new ideas into the system. We’ve all been there, and yet it is true that corporate America is ever changing, and schools do need to be able to do the same if they are going to produce young people who can become productive citizens in that ever changing world.
“The kids were uptight last year because I was a disciplinarian. I think they have realized that yes, I hold them accountable, but I’m not a big, mean guy.”
So when do the kids do TRIBE kind of stuff? The schedule is set so that students remain in their 4th period class for an extra twenty minutes each day. During that time, they discuss school spirit, getting to know each other, and working on improving the school through brotherhood. According to Mr. Gee, “A lot of kids are buying in.”
Without even knowing it, if you are a Comanche Indian football fan, you’ve already seen some of the “TRIBE stuff” in action because you have heard the commotion created by the Bleacher Creatures.
“Parents are seeing that school spirit is increasing, and they know that we are making progress. That’s a good thing.”
So…who is Chad Gee when he is not the principal of Comanche High School?
“I am a father and a husband first and foremost, extremely loyal and dedicated to my family. Whatever I am doing, you can expect me to be dedicated and do it the best of my ability.”
By his own admission, Chad Gee is also a very high strung individual; however, that did change a bit after he had a terrible accident last spring.
“My accident really did have a relaxing effect on me because I saw that I had to accept that I could not control everything. I had to depend on other people to do things for me, and that was very, very hard.”
Today, Gee is up and moving and seems to be back in the saddle in all areas of his life.
As to what we can expect from him in the future, Gee says, “I will continue to strive for excellence. I want Comanche to be the best 3-A school in the state of Texas.”
It is a goal I believe all of us would like to see come to fruition, isn’t it?