FOLEY — There’s a lot of tradition at Foley High School.
Jessica Webb, who took over as principal in February, said she’s excited to continue that tradition while moving towards the future.
“I want to focus on where Foley is going, where we’re headed,” Webb said. “Our programs like career tech and our academics. What we’re doing in training our people and bringing in the right people, and a partnership with the city of Foley. Our new coaches and teachers and the people who are here. Just where are we headed, and how exciting it is.”
Webb came to FHS four years ago as an assistant principal after serving for five years at Fairhope Middle in the same position. Prior to moving into administration, she worked at Fairhope High as the girls’ basketball coach, girls’ volleyball coach, female athletic director and teaching various social science classes. Before coming to Baldwin, she worked as a teacher and coach in Mobile.
Now, as she enters her 20th year in education, Webb is tackling her next career chapter with excitement – her first full school year as principal.
Currently, Webb and her administration team are hosting multiple meetings to create their mission and vision. She and her team plan to expand the school’s social media presence. FHS and the city of Foley are working on a partnership, the details of which are still being ironed out.
The end goal of these initiatives? Webb said she wants to let the community know all the great things happening at Foley High.
“People don’t always know what we have to offer here,” Webb said. “They don’t know that we have equine science, poultry science, veterinary science, health occupation classes with an interactive cadaver here on campus. They don’t know we have welding stalls and certified welding. They don’t know we offer education training on campus, or construction classes and a full robotics lab with engineering. There’s all these classes that people don’t realize we have going on here.”
Along with the multitude of career tech classes, the school also offers NJROTC, a band which boasts nearly 250 performers and two art teachers on staff. During the past school year, the school’s theater department produced its first full musical with Godspell. This year, it’s going big and attempting three productions.
Webb said currently nearly 15 AP courses are offered at FHS. This summer, six additional teachers are headed to AP training to expand course offerings.
She added when ACT scores came back in 2020, FHS was in the top 5% in growth in the nation in all subject areas.
“I’m excited about our group of teachers coming in and our teachers that we have — we’ve got some phenomenal teachers and admin team, just everybody on our staff,” Webb said. “And then with our support from the city of Foley, I feel like some really great things are going to happen in the next year or two at Foley High.”
An important piece of Foley High is career coaching. With the help of Morrell Baxter, career coach, students gain knowledge both in applying to college as well as what it takes to enter into the workforce.
“Some kids are college-bound, they’re ready to go and they want to take that extra step and get a degree in a field that they feel it’s important or a requirement,” Webb said. “But then you’ve got a lot of kids who are looking to enter the workforce, and we obviously want them to be ready to do that. Not just ready, but skilled, where they can make good money with benefits in a job that they can grow in and excel.”
Though excited about the future, Webb said there are of course challenges. A major challenge, she said, is meeting the exponential growth here in Baldwin County. This fall, there will be approximately 1,600 students attending FHS. Webb feels confident that within two or three years, that number will be at 1,800 or above.
“We want to create something new, but without losing the tradition,” Webb said. “We’re almost 100 years old. Foley’s got some amazing tradition. We don’t want to lose that, but then we want to get it to where we’re going. The growth wasn’t happening 100 years ago, it’s a very different place that we live now. So, we’ve got to transform, without losing the tradition and the heritage, into what Foley is now for the people who are coming in.”