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Strong Stories: Kerry Coursey

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Degree Class of 1996
Master’s Health and Physical Education and Educational Leadership

Kerry Coursey

Principal, Coastal Middle School

Kerry Coursey graduated from Johnson High School in 1987 and headed just a few miles south to Armstrong, where she received a bachelor's degree in Health and Physical Education.

Boosted by her selection as the Roy J. Sims Physical Education Major of the Year, she signed up as a P.E. teacher at Myers Middle School the very next semester.

“My coursework at Armstrong was instrumental in preparing me for the demands of being an educational leader,” says Kerry, who was inspired to choose physical education by her part-time work as a YMCA gymnastics coach and youth sports coordinator. “I believe that P.E. teachers and coaches are naturally skilled at planning, scheduling, and ‘coaching’ others to success.”

While leading her own P.E. classes, Kerry continued to further her education, earning a double master’s degree in Health and Physical Education and Educational Leadership. Soon after, she was promoted to assistant principal, and in 2001 became the principal of West Chatham Middle School. She has served as the principal of Coastal Middle School since 2008 and affirms that her years at Armstrong prepared her well for the demanding job.

Principal, Coastal Middle School

“We were expected to not only motivate and engage students in healthy practices, but to bring about change in attitudes regarding healthy eating and exercise. This required significant communication and motivational skills—both of which are critical for being a successful school leader,” she says.

When she’s not at school, Kerry volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House and Family Room with the Junior League of Savannah and is a member of 100 Women Who Care in Savannah. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband Jamie and their 10 year-old daughter Peyton.

Committed to ongoing education in her field, this hard-working principal remains active in the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders and the Georgia Association of Middle School Principals. In 2013, she represented Georgia as the state’s National Distinguished Middle School Principal in Washington D.C.

“As I reflect back on my experience at Armstrong, I truly believe the personal connections I developed with my instructors helped to shape the educator that I became,” she muses. “The classes were small, and the instructors made a sincere effort to get to know each and every one of their students.”