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Fernandez accepts principalship at Rainbow elementary

MADISON –Karl Fernandez felt like Rainbow Elementary School was the right fit when he accepted the role of principal.

“My focus right now is to get to know the Rainbow staff and community so I can prove to them that I, in turn, am the right fit for them,” Fernandez said.

For five years, Fernandez worked as Assistant Principal at Mill Creek Elementary School with Principal Carmen Taylor-Tubb. “Principalship is very different from assistant principalship, regardless of the school. All decisions are finalized through the principal, (thus) adding more to the responsibility factor,” Fernandez said.

In comparison, Mill Creek is larger than Rainbow. “But size and responsibility are not critical to me . . . it’s the people,” Fernandez said. “There are amazing people at Mill Creek, and there are amazing people here at Rainbow. I’m so lucky to have the experience I had at Mill Creek and the opportunity I now have at Rainbow.”

In 2015, Fernandez completed a semester-long administration internship at Madison Cross Roads Elementary. He then taught science and biomedical courses at Sparkman High School for eight years before transferring to Mill Creek in 2016.

Every principal has beliefs that drive the need for procedural changes, Fernandez said. “I do expect some changes over time but not this year. I want to know the culture of Rainbow first before making any changes. I’m not in this position to change Rainbow; I’m here to see where we can make improvements.”

Including Early Beginnings Pre-Kindergarten, Rainbow has approximately 695 students this year. “Student numbers change from week to week,” Fernandez said. Pre-kindergarten has 38 students; kindergarten, 109; first, 113; second, 122; third, 105; fourth, 108; and fifth, 100.

Fernandez earned an associate’s degree at Calhoun Community College; bachelor’s degree, biology, Athens State University; master’s degree, teaching, University of West Alabama; education specialist degree, University of Alabama; and instructional leadership certification, Samford University. He is pursuing a doctorate’s degree in instructional leadership at UA.

He is originally from Guam but was born in Germany. He also lived in Italy, along with New York, California, Texas and Alabama. Fernandez graduated as valedictorian from a Department of Defense Education Activity or DoDEA school, and then settled in the Huntsville area.

“Most people know that I have a three-year-old daughter, named Isla, but many may not know that she is adopted through a private family adoption. Her birth father is my first cousin,” Fernandez said.

“We went to Guam in summer 2019 to start that adoption process (when) she was seven months old. The full adoption was completed in January 2021. I also have a 13-year-old stepson, who’s been in my life since he was two. It’s a wonderful, blended family!” Fernandez said.

Rainbow’s administration includes Assistant Principal Miranda Bolden and Nedjra Russell, who is participating in Madison City Aspiring Administrator Program or MAAP and has responsibilities similar to an assistant principal.

Fernandez fills the vacancy from Brian Givens, who now is Principal of Riverton Intermediate School with Madison County Schools.

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