ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — Robertsdale High School Principal Joseph Sharp was recently announced as Administrator of the Year by the Baldwin County Reading Council.
Baldwin County Public Schools posted the announcement on its Facebook page on Tuesday, June 9, stating that under Sharp’s leadership, Robertsdale High School has improved its graduation rate by 14 percent in its first year; the State of Alabama Report Card Grade increased by nine points in 2019 and the school is ranked in the 92nd percentile of all high schools nationally for growth on the ACT.
“I just want to say first and foremost that the faculty and staff at RHS deserves all the credit,” Sharp said. “They have all worked tirelessly, going above and beyond to help students improve and achieve their goals.”
According to the Baldwin County Public Schools Facebook post, Sharp implemented a new program in 2018-19 called Secondary Guided Reading. He hired a reading coach with an elementary school background for the course to help struggling students and he supported the classroom with access to incentives for students, resources such as magazines and books, and flexibility in scheduling. The following year, the program was expanded to include a special education instruction.
By hiring a certified reading coach with an elementary school background, according to the post, he was able to target specific needs of students and achieve 100 percent student growth in at least two-grade level reading scores.
The post also stated that Sharp implemented professional learning communities in the school and Implemented STEM academy for the 2020-2021 year.
“He is a true leader and inspires the love of reading for all of his teachers. He sets high standards to encourage teachers and implement reading practices in their classrooms and welcomes feedback for ongoing improvement.
Sharp said several teachers, in particular Becky Tomaso, Megan Foy, Kim Derrick and Lauren Lavender, were called upon to address specific concerns in both math and reading.
“Right now, I feel that everyone has bought into our system of making education and learning the No. 1 priority,” he said. “I believe all the credit goes to our faculty, staff and our students who have worked hard to achieve their goals. I am proud to be a part of what this school has accomplished to prove the naysayers wrong in that we have the brightest and the best students who can achieve anything they set their minds to accomplishing.”
A 1986 graduate of Robertsdale High School, Sharp received a scholarship to play football at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education in 1991, returning to teach physical education at Robertsdale Elementary School and coached for the Golden Bears under David Stapleton (1992-93).
Sharp served as defensive coordinator under Fred Riley (1994-98) before taking the athletic director/head coach position at Fairhope High in 1999 leaving to help start the football program at Spain Park High School in Hoover in 2001.
While in the Birmingham area, Sharp received a Master’s Degree in educational leadership from the University of Montevallo. In 2005, he left Alabama for Cobb County, Georgia, serving at Sprayberry High School in Marietta, 20 miles northwest of Atlanta before leaving in 2008 to serve as principal at Thomas County Central High School in Thomasville, Georgia, 225 miles south of Atlanta.
Sharp served as director of Administration Services for the Thomas County (Georgia) School System completing his education with a specialist’s degree in educational leadership from Valdosta State University before returning to Sprayberry in 2012 as assistant principal, where he was eventually promoted to principal before being hired as principal at RHS in May of 2018.
“We still have a long way to go, but it is my hope that all of our community leaders, parents, family, anyone who has a stake in the future of these students, is proud of what these students have been able to achieve and will continue to achieve,” Sharp said.