MARIETTA — Kell High School’s new principal Andrew Bristow might be new to his office, but he is not new to Kell or its community.
When Bristow and his wife, Niki, moved into the northeast Cobb area about 13 years ago, Kell was just welcoming its first few classes of students.
“I moved into the area because of the school,” Bristow said.
In the years since, his daughter, Madison Grace, graduated from Kell in 2015, and Bristow has worked in various schools in the surrounding area, including Simpson Middle School and Pope and Lassiter high schools.
Bristow said he already knows some students and parents through his daughter’s time at Kell. He has also coached some students in junior Kell basketball and through his neighborhood’s summer league swim team.
“For some people, I’m not somebody new coming in that they don’t know,” Bristow said.
Bristow filled the position that was left vacant after Ed Wagner became an assistant superintendent with the district. Bristow’s salary will increase from $117,173.13 to $129,874.82.
July 1 marked Bristow’s first day on the job, which included moving a fish tank he used in a science class at Pope High School about 12 years ago to his new office.
Not only is Bristow no stranger to the Kell area, he is quite familiar with Cobb County.
A 1986 Campbell High School graduate, Bristow grew up in the Smyrna area and attended Argyle Elementary and Nash Middle schools.
“I’m a local boy, I guess,” he said.
Through his experiences in the classroom and in leadership positions, Bristow has found ways to keep students interested in the school activities and academics.
He said he tells students they have to be in high school for four years, so they might as well make the time enjoyable — with the help of the school’s staff and teachers.
“You can come in every day and say, ‘I don’t want to be in school. I hate school.’ It’s going to be seven and a half hours of misery,” he said.
As a science teacher, Bristow said he once had an almost all-female class in physics, and the class wanted to know more about the physics of dancing and ice skating. He said he focused on the physics behind cars when he had an almost all-male physics class.
“The whole course was related to that process,” he said.
As a principal, Bristow said he talks to the students to know more about what they want out of their high school experience.
“There are some kids that are about the sports. They love high school because of the sports, and they go to the classes to be in the sports,” he said. “You have to work with them on that.”
As Kell was founded in 2002, Bristow said he will support Kell as the students make and continue school traditions as the school continues to develop.
“It’s about the student having their first experience in high school and hopefully having a positive one,” he said.