Russell Forecasts Coming School Year

Nandini Dasari, Assistant Editor

On Aug. 18, staff members from FM Wire and The Legend convened in room 1210 for a long awaited press conference. Featuring Principal Chad Russell, the 45-minute meeting yielded answers to questions posed on a variety of topics, including Russell’s take on the high school experience, general goals and expectations for the school year, and student culture. 

As a high school student, Russell’s experience was drastically different from the one students today are given at FMHS. Growing up in the small town of Booker, Texas, Russell’s community consisted of about 1,000 individuals, a sharp contrast to the nearly 80,000 that live in Flower Mound.

“You can fit three of my hometowns in this building every day. My graduating class had 17 students,” Russell said.

With such a small student body, Russell’s high school experience came with both benefits and drawbacks. While he was able to take full advantage of the academic and extracurricular opportunities presented to him, some of the “large school benefits” were simply not available. 

“I got to do football, basketball, track, golf, and band. I was president of about four different organizations because nobody else was there to be a president. However, I didn’t get the experiences that we have here. Like I didn’t have AP Calculus. I didn’t have any AP classes,” Russell said.

However, regardless of school size, Russell explains that the value of a high school lies in its approach to inclusivity and improving as an collective organization. He encourages students to consider the idea of growth vs. performance culture.

“Traditionally, the performance culture at Flower Mound High School has been extremely high. We perform very well on any type of test given academically, any type of performance in fine arts, any type of performance in athletics. But I think what gets lost a little bit and what I’m trying to focus on more this year is the celebration of individual growth and of groups,” Russell said.

Along with their renewed approach to student culture, Russell and his administrative staff have continued to take steps in creating a safe and productive learning environment for students at school. Such measures include requiring ID badges for students and staff, locking classroom doors, and conducting rigorous safety checks of the 106 exterior doors on campus.

“I won’t be remiss to say that some of it isn’t due to recent events. It is. We have to have an administrator or assistant principal walk around the building and check every exterior door for security reasons once a week, and we have to file a report to the district who then sends it to the governor’s office,” Russell said.

In addition to taking up tightened security protocols, the administration has worked to oversee the extensive renovation occurring throughout the main campus. Beginning in summer of 2021, the construction is ongoing, replacing carpet with tile in classrooms, redesigning the library, improving lighting, and adding rooms to the fine arts facilities. 

“For those of you that have been here several years, we had the turquoise which is very 1990s. My mom had it on our kitchen countertops growing up. And so yeah, it’s dated. We’re able to hit reset on some stuff. So it’s allowed us to take some of the old away and put some new up,” Russell said.

Despite the changing circumstances, Russell remains hopeful, aiming to initiate a rewarding school year for students and staff. As the 22-23 school year kickstarts, he reminds students and staff to be thankful for the school community and all that it stands for.

“Times are tough. They’re tougher than they were five years ago, but we don’t want for much. We’re very blessed,” Russell said.