Paducah Public Schools have announced that educator André Meadows will serve as its new assistant principal for the Paducah Innovation Hub.
“With the career and technical education, the ‘CTE’ classes — it’s career exploration,” Meadows told The Sun.
“They don’t have to make a commitment to anything. A guy can learn welding. He can learn some carpentry, but that doesn’t mean he has to do that for a living, so they’re going to get to explore several careers.”
Meadows noted that a new EMT class is planned to start in the fall.
“I thought that was really, really interesting that some of these kids will be career ready once they leave the building,” he added.
The Paducah Innovation Hub opened its doors for students in August 2020. It offers a range of classes, and “grows talent for the region” through different experiences in technology, trades, health care, the river industry and more, according to a news release. It also features a Makerspace.
“We have 3-D printers,” Meadows said. “We have 16 virtual reality headsets that students will be using and I’m working, since I came from a middle school, I’m working with the principal over there to get these kids over here during the school day to use some of the equipment.”
Meadows, who has taught social studies at Paducah Middle School, wants parents to know he’s open, approachable and ready to help their student succeed. He is taking over the assistant principal role from Corbin Snardon, who accepted a job outside the school district.
“I am extremely excited to add Mr. Meadows to our team at the Innovation Hub,” Innovation Hub Principal Steve Ybarzabal said, in a news release. “His experience as a classroom teacher and school administrator, paired with his knowledge and passion for technology, make him a great fit.”
Education is a career path the Metropolis, Illinois, native found himself on after tutoring a student many years ago.
As he puts it, Meadows said he started coaching before he did any teaching. He recalled he had a player who wasn’t eligible, and the school’s principal, James Haley, allowed him to tutor the player at lunch.
“We ended up getting the student eligible to play ball, and it kind of went from there,” Meadows said.
“He said, ‘Hey, would you like to do this kind of on a full-time basis’ and I ended up getting a job as a teacher’s aide. When I was a teacher’s aide, I got into the technology part and started setting up computer networks, and then I ended up going back to school to get my teaching certification.”
Meadows enjoyed seeing what students could achieve with a little guidance. As they say, the rest was history.
He graduated from Shawnee Community College in 1995, and earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Southern Illinois University in 2002. He later earned a degree in school administration from Murray State University in 2007, according to a news release.
He’s spent the last five years teaching at Paducah Middle School. Before joining Paducah Public Schools, Meadows served as an administrator and a teacher with Massac Unit School District 1 in Metropolis.
“Art Davis, who used to teach at Massac County — he was actually the first Black male that I ever had as a teacher,” Meadows said, on coming to Paducah schools, referring to the former Paducah Tilghman High School principal. “He has been kind of my motivator to get into education as well, so I decided to come on across.”
Meadows said his favorite part of teaching is seeing a student’s amazement when they learn something new, and the “lightbulb turns on.”
“That’s the most exciting part about teaching, when they figure it out,” he added.