by Geoff Fox
School in Maryland starts on Tuesday, September 3, and when students at Hancock Middle-Senior High School walk through the door, they will be welcomed by Christopher Cline, the new principal at the school.
Former principal Sabrina McCoy is now the new assistant principal at South Hagerstown High School. Both Cline and McCoy’s new positions were effective July 1.
Cline comes to Hancock after a year as the Assistant Principal at Williamsport High School.
He’s originally is from Inwood, W.Va., and a graduate of Musselman (WV) High School and Shepherd University. Cline comes from a family of educators.
“My dad was the assistant principal athletic director at Musselman High. My mom was a middle school math teacher at Musselman Middle,” he said.
Cline started teaching in Washington County in 2002-2003 after graduating from Shepherd.
His taught for nine years at E. Russell Hicks Middle School, then moved on to Northern Middle for three years where he was a Lead Teacher and mentor. For the last five years, Cline has been an assistant principal at Clear Spring (two years), North High (two years), and Williamsport (one year).
Cline is excited about Hancock and the school.
“It’s a nice, small town feel with a lot of support,” Cline said, which is something he’s used to from where he grew up as well as around the county.
He also thinks there is a possibility for a lot of great things to happen at Hancock and is impressed with the staff members he has met and the programs offered at Hancock Middle-Senior High School.
Cline has also been taken aback as he’s walked around the school grounds looking at the greenhouse and the view of the mountains.
“I’m very excited!” he said.
As he looks toward the coming school year and the future, there are two things Cline is looking to do at Hancock Middle-Senior High School.
First, he wants to build a culture in which kids and staff get excited to come to school, “really bringing back that Hancock Panther Pride,” he said.
With a community that supports the school, Cline wants to create that atmosphere where the kids are excited to wear their Hancock blue every Friday.
In a letter posted on Facebook and sent out to families, Cline said one of his big pushes was having the kids doing “authentic literacy.”
Cline said no matter if a student is going to college or into a career, they have to be able to read, write, and think.
Cline also wants to get kids engaged in class.
“We’re preparing kids, yes for the current grade that they’re in and then through high school, but giving those kids those skills that when they’re beyond high school, when they’re leaving us post secondary, whether that’s college, career, trade school, or whatever, is that they have skills they can utilize,” he said. “To me, that always comes back to being literate, comes back to read, write, and think.”
Cline met incoming sixth graders and their families when fifth grade students had their step up night last month.
During that encounter, Cline talked about things the students would be worried about as well as the choices they would be making and the effort they would be giving.
Cline said if it were up to him, school would already be starting because he’s that excited.
He’s ready to meet people, attend events, and connect with the community.