Photo courtesy of Homewood City Schoos
0812 Bill Cleveland
Homewood City Schools Superintendent Bill Cleveland with an elementary school class.
You grew up in Homewood and went through the school system. Tell us about your Homewood connections and your past ties to the community.
I loved growing up in Homewood. The close-knit community feel is a characteristic I enjoyed as a youngster and one that I feel is still evident. I have always loved that Homewood was and still is a diverse and welcoming city. Being able to walk to friends’ houses, to school or to church were some things I enjoyed. My desire to go into education came from the many positive experiences I had as a student in Homewood. My love for teaching originally came from my parents, but it was enhanced by some of the teachers I was fortunate to have while I was a student in Homewood City Schools. Mr. Parrot and Mrs. Bekrackus instilled in me a love for history and social studies, which is what I eventually taught. Miss Bomar (now Mrs. Whitson) and Mrs. Webber eventually taught me to really enjoy math.
How does it feel to be the superintendent of a school system that is also your alma mater?
It is very humbling. I have a large amount of pride and appreciation. Growing up, I always thought I was fortunate to be a student in Homewood City Schools. Now, I consider myself fortunate to follow in great footsteps of former Homewood superintendents. There is a desire to make every day a little better than the day before. I remain proud of our faculty and staff. They demonstrate each and every day a strong desire to empower our students to reach their unique potential. Also, I find myself continuously being proud of our students. They demonstrate an attitude that fosters a climate where the students truly care for each other. That is a characteristic that I feel has always been present in our system.
What would you say to someone moving to our community from out of state that has no previous knowledge of how special Homewood schools truly are?
I would start by telling them that our system is much more than a high school that is continuously being recognized by the likes of Newsweek and The Washington Post as being a top high school. That this is one of the best school systems they will ever see! Our students are constantly being motivated to reach higher levels of learning. Our faculty and staff members truly care about their students and take the time to get to know each one. There is a positive climate that exists. Since we are a small system, it is possible to know everyone in your grade at the middle and high school, and that helps foster a sense of community. The diversity that exists throughout the city is also present in our school system. This diversity is very positive and enables our students to learn not only from our teachers, but also from each other.
What is your favorite part of this job?
Getting to be around the students would be the number one thing that I would list as my favorite. Next would be getting to see our faculty members in action. We have wonderful people throughout the system that go above and beyond in an effort to help each of our students reach their unique potential.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Time management is the toughest part of the job. I enjoy seeing all of the activities that our schools are involved with, and I would love to be present at them all. That is just not always possible and can be frustrating. Also, not being in the classroom is something I am still, after 14 years, finding myself missing.