Joshua Spikes is Assistant Principal at Richwood High School, in the Ouachita Parish School Board, in Monroe, Louisiana.
… After graduating from DeRidder High School, he attended Grambling State University and was a member of the GSU World Famed Tiger Marching Band. He received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Grambling State University and his plus 30 from Louisiana Tech and The University of Louisiana Monroe. After his undergrad degree, he became the youngest band director in the school’s history at Richwood High School – at the same High School where he completed his student teaching. He held that position for ten years and made another historic move when he became the youngest Assistant Principal of the same high school.
He currently holds that position – with pride – in his seventh year. Mr. Spikes is known throughout the state of Louisiana as a man that loves children, a servant leader, a school operations guru, transformational leader, and an outstanding disciplinarian.
In addition, Mr. Spikes is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, Kappa Delta Pi, Grambling State University Monroe/West Monroe Alumni Chapter. He is active in his church community and serves as Minister of Music at Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church, in West Monroe, LA. He is a native of DeRidder, LA, the son of a former principal and school teacher and married to the love of his life. Together they have two children.
Can you please fill in the gaps on that intro, and tell listeners something else they may be surprised to know about you?
Joshua and Will both love visiting other schools; Joshua is a self-described school and educational nerd.
Can you tell listeners more about Richwood High School and some of the great outcomes happening in your school community?
Richwood High School has approximately 500 students, with a predominantly African American student population. It was consolidated in the late 1980’s and reopened in the 2001-’02 school year with career technology options in welding, dental assistant, and cosmetology.
As you know, a lot of Principal Matters listeners are current leaders or aspiring ones. As an experienced Assistant Principal, what are some lessons in leadership you’ve learned that may help others thinking about becoming an AP? What takeaways or lessons would you have for others who may be stepping into leadership as the ‘youngest’ or ‘first’ in their own settings?
As a former band director, Mr. Spikes is committed to leading as an admin with structure and order so that he is supporting student learning. He lives by his 5 P’s: pray, plan, prioritize, participate, and problem-solve. Joshua states that tackling problems when they start instead of when they become a bigger problem helps new leaders learn what to prioritize. He also believes in the importance of participating in school events, whether that be sports events, drama, choir, etc. This will foster a sense of community between the students and the administrators.
You have been described as a transformational leader with strengths in operations and managing student behavior. Can you share some of the practical ways you have established helpful procedures, policies or practices in these areas?
Joshua is very serious about structure and order in his schools, making sure that there are no distractions from student learning. He believes that you have to build a relationship with students and with their parents in disciplinary situations. Honesty and transparency are what make a great and fair disciplinarian in an administration role. He also believes leaders need to distinguish among minor, middle and major challenges when problem-solving.
How can listeners stay connected to you? What parting words or ideas would you like to leave with Principal Matters listeners?
As a leader, be strong and courageous. You have to pause, you have to breathe, and if you do those things, you will start to see yourself flourish. These principles also apply to life and family.