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Mill Creek welcomes Fernandez as AP

Karl Fernandez is now working as Mill Creek Elementary School's assistant principal. CONTRIBUTED
Karl Fernandez is now working as Mill Creek Elementary School’s assistant principal. CONTRIBUTED
MADISON – Karl Fernandez feels thrilled to be a part of the Mill Creek Elementary School family as the new assistant principal.
For the past eight years, Fernandez taught at Sparkman High School. His classes included marine science, honors anatomy and physiology, Project Lead the Way Biomedical Science: Human Body Systems, advanced-placement biology and forensic science.
In 2015, he received the Principal Residency Grant from the State Department of Education. He chose to work with administrators at Madison Cross Roads Elementary School.
For a semester, another teacher covered Fernandez’ classes at Sparkman while he interned. “That experience truly solidified my professional decision to work at the elementary level,” Fernandez said.
“What drew me to Mill Creek specifically was its student diversity. As a former military dependent with national and international traveling I’ve done as a child, I feel at home around diversity,” Fernandez said about Mill Creek students representing 20-plus countries.
Officially, his duties involve discipline, buses, textbooks, school safety, student teachers, Response to Intervention and scheduling. As the only assistant principal of 950-plus students, Fernandez finds himself “doing a little of everything. Mrs. Buchanan, the principal, and I work amazingly well together.”
Fernandez is proud that he helped students organize Sparkman’s Gay-Straight Alliance. “It’s a highly controversial organization, but students desperately needed an advocate and a safe place to share their experiences they went through with family and friends with respect to their lifestyle and be around others with similar experiences,” he said.
“It was heart-wrenching to learn what some teenagers dealt with, faced and overcame … situations many adults would never begin to understand. I’m proud to help them have a voice and my classroom as a safe place to be themselves, even just for a moment, without fear,” Fernandez said.

After attending Calhoun Community College, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Athens State University, a master’s degree from University of West Alabama and an education specialist degree from University of Alabama. Currently, he’s pursuing a doctorate degree in instructional leadership at UA.

Before teaching, he worked at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Research Genetics, Jenoptik and the YMCA.

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