COTTONDALE, Fla. (WMBB) – Thomas Register is in his first year as principal of Cottondale Elementary School. 

He transferred from Cottondale High School where he served as an assistant principal. 

It didn’t take long for Register to notice some differences between the two.

“The difference in the high school and elementary school is about 750 hugs a day,” Register said. “Going down the hallway you’re going to get hugged, high-fived, and fist-bumped by everybody. The kids are excited to see you.”

The teachers at the school have embraced the register with open arms.

“He’s always been an open-door policy type of principal and leader where he wants to hear from his staff and get our viewpoint on things that matter,” said Cottondale Elementary School Teacher Reid Brockett. “He knows that we’re the ones that deal with the students every day and we’re the ones that sit with them and can kind of give them the most positive feedback.”

Register, however, believes it should be his faculty members who receive the praise, not himself.

“They’re really amazing. They’re the ones that deserve credit. They’re the ones that deserve someone to pat them on the back,” Register added. “When I go through their classrooms every day to see the innovative ways that they reach these kids, it’s truly amazing.”

Some of the changes that Principal Register has implemented have had an immediate impact on the school’s morale, for both teachers and students.

“One of the things that he does that we’ve never had here before is in the morning we have music that plays,” Brockett included. “That music that plays in the morning kind of gives everybody just a feeling of, hey, you know what? We’re here at school. Yes, school is important, but we want kids, especially at the elementary level, to come to school and enjoy being here at school.”

Not only does Register himself greatly enjoy seeing this change, but he also knows the benefits it’ll have on both the students and faculty.

“My favorite part of the day is every morning when we play our music out there on the sidewalk and just to see them,” said Register. “They dance, have a good time. It puts them in a good mood before school starts.”

That’s what makes Thomas Register a class act.

If there is a school faculty member you would like to nominate for our class act award you can do so now by clicking here.

Janitors, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers are all eligible for this award.