17 new faculty at HHS to accommodate unprecedented influx of students


Luke McLendon

New faculty of Homewood High School teach classes, Stacey Browning (top left), Molly Graham (top right), Fred Major (middle right), and Robert McNelly (bottom right). New librarian Dutcha Lawson types at computer.

Luke McLendon, Editor

The two largest classes in Homewood City Schools history have brought about unique demands for Homewood High School. A remarkable 17 faculty have been added for the 2022-2023 school year to match these massive class sizes.

First-year High School teacher, Browning leads a class of seniors in US Government and Politics. (Luke McLendon)

Teachers have been called upon for several reasons. Much of the faculty from the previous year left the high school, leaving many shoes to fill for core classes and electives. Principal Dr. Joel Henneke emphasizes that compensating for such massive class sizes is no simple task. “With the two newest classes having 60 more people than usual,” Henneke said, “it’s complicated moving them from the middle school where schedules are very similar, to the high school where there’s a lot more variety.”

Major congratulates a student for correctly answering a question in the school’s new AP Computer Science class. (Luke McLendon)

In addition to the already numerous electives and class options for HHS students, the school has been making an effort to expand the number and variety of offered electives. Henneke mentions the new computer science department, sports programs, and assorted electives that all have positions to fill.

Recently, the nation has been experiencing a worsening teacher shortage, from which Alabama is no exception. Despite this, Homewood has had no trouble finding new faculty.

Graham teaches geometry to her class of freshmen during her first year at HHS. (Luke McLendon)

Dr. Henneke attributes this hiring success to the uniquely teacher-friendly scheduling, where teachers are only required to teach for five periods of the day; one is used to continue their focus on professional development, and another is a planning period.

This difference is only made possible by the support of the city of Homewood, according to Henneke. “It’s amazing what we’re able to do here with that support, not just the high school, but all academic areas. It really sets us apart from other school systems.”

As the massive “bubble” of students in the classes of ’24 and ’25 progress through the high school, there will undoubtedly be more faculty adjustments in the future.