On March 7, 2018, school leaders from across the nation traveled to Beaumont, Texas, to share their recovery experiences with educational leaders whose districts were impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Troy Albert, Salem High School Principal and Dr. John Reed, West Clark Superintendent joined other volunteer mentors to share experiences and discuss important recovery related topics. Both were involved in the recovery efforts and rebuilding project after the destruction of Henryville’s High School by a tornado. 

Salem High School Principal Troy Albert, second from left, and Dr. John Reed, third from right, attended a training session in Texas on disaster recovery.

Among issues discussed were current mental and behavioral health challenges, how school district leadership can best support educators and students through recovery, effective communication strategies and other topics pertinent to school districts in the Region 5 Education Service Center in Beaumont, Texas.

Volunteer mentors worked with local school leaders to problem solve current and potential future challenges and in the development of action plans to guide recovery efforts going forward.

In addition to a number of collaborative activities, Troy Albert Salem High School Principal and Dr. John Reed, West Clark Superintendent, participated on an expert panel to share lessons learned from their personal recovery experiences to provide valuable insight on issues Harvey-impacted leaders may encounter post disaster.

In discussing what did the panel learn after six months after a tragedy, “The greatest
lesson learned was the people matter and their feelings and emotional well-being is vital.The teachers lost items and the need for more outside support was really the greatest item that need a to change. Listen to the needs of the teachers and support staff.” said Albert.

The seminar was part of an ongoing effort to strengthen local resiliency and build system-wide capacity in areas across the Hurricane Harvey impacted region.