Sparkman Ninth Grade

Capture, Inspire, Teach
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Background:  Martin Hester grew up in Guntersville, Alabama, and is a graduate of Guntersville High School.  He received his Secondary Education degree from Athens State University with a concentration in Mathematics.  During his teaching career, Mr. Hester also coached football for eight years, basketball for six years, and golf for five years.  After eight years in education, Mr. Hester pursued a Master’s degree in Administration from the University of Alabama and has been working as an administrator for the past eleven years. 

Family:  Mr. Hester currently lives in Guntersville.  He is married to Jackie Hester, Assistant Principal at Buckhorn Middle School, and has 3 children, Nicklaus, Sydney, and Ty.

Philosophy:  “Education should lay the foundation and provide the framework for students to make positive choices so they may succeed in their chosen endeavors.  The opportunity to learn should be extended to anyone with the desire to be successful.”

Vision:  Mr. Hester would like for Sparkman Ninth Grade School to be recognized as the most rewarding educational experience of any student's academic career.  While breaking the barrier of the traditional 9TH – 12TH high school, it is important for us to make a grand statement that this concept is an exceptional avenue for students.  Building on our experiences and successes, it is vital that we continue to look for more ways to provide the best education possible for the students at this impressionable stage of their life.  It is vital that the groundwork that is laid during students' tenure at Sparkman Ninth Grade School be solid in order to give them a firm grip on the expectations of their last three years in high school.


Background:  I am entering my 17th year of education.  I have taught in the Tuscaloosa County, Madison County, and Huntsville City School Systems.  I first came to Sparkman High School in 2003.  While at Sparkman I taught Marine Biology and coached varsity football.  I left Sparkman in 2008 and went to Huntsville High School for 3 ½ years.  While at Huntsville High, I taught Marine Biology, AP Biology, and coached football.  I returned to Sparkman Nine in January of 2012 to teach Pre AP Biology.  I left Sparkman Nine last year to move to the Central Office as a Resource Specialist in charge of testing and working with the new science curriculum.  I am excited to return this year to Sparkman Nine as Assistant Principal as this area is home to me.  I have a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Alabama where I was a football manager for the Crimson Tide.  I also have a Master’s in Instructional Leadership from Samford University.  I have lived in the Harvest-Monrovia area since moving here in 2003 and we are both vested in the community and want to see it continue to grow and excel.      

Family:  My wife Debbie is a graduate of Sparkman High and has taught English at the High School for 19 years.  Debbie and I have three grown children, Kara, Jesse, and Anna.  I am originally from Hamilton, AL.

Philosophy:  I believe that school is not the end, it is only the start of being a life-long learner.  Our job is to make sure that students are prepared for that process, regardless of where that takes them when their high school days are over.

Vision:  I look forward to working with one of greatest faculties and support staffs in the state of Alabama.  I know that Sparkman Nine is where dreams begin to take shape.  I am excited to continue the tradition of “Teaching Students to Lead like Senators”.

Background: Mr. Barlow grew up in Limestone County, Alabama and is a graduate of West Limestone High School. He received a Business Administration degree from Athens State University, a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Alabama A&M University, and an Education Administration certificate from the University of North Alabama. Mr. Barlow has been an educator for 16 years. Mr. Barlow worked as an Assistant Principal at Harvest Elementary for 9 years.

Family: Mr. Barlow lives in Harvest, Alabama. He and his wife, Jessica, have been married for 20 years. They have two children. Caroline is a student at Sparkman High and Parker attends Monrovia Middle.

Philosophy: A high quality education is about more than curriculum, instruction, and assessments. While teacher instruction plays a major role in child development, building a positive relationship with students is more important for student success. Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Vision: Sparkman Ninth Grade School provides a safe and nurturing environment that allows students to maximize educational potential. This is accomplished by a family of educators who are intently focused on preparing graduates for success in a globally competitive world.