Matt Massey has borne much trouble and sacrifice to create this school. Born in Huntsville, he grew up in Citronelle, a small town on the north end of Mobile county by the Mississippi border. He remarks that his school did not have any opportunities, however, he found that it “had some great teachers, [such as] an incredible math teacher, and that really helped form who I was”. Afterward, he went to Troy University for three and a half years and majored in math education. He went on to teach at Clark County High School in Highfield, a small town in southwest Alabama. Massey then went away to graduate school at Ole Miss for 2 years; Massey said that he then “kind of landed in Huntsville.”
Massey’s original reason for visiting Huntsville was to spend time with family. He stated that his initial life plan “was actually to work overseas [,] or in Alaska [,] or in the wilderness somewhere teaching math to rural kids or Native Americans.” However, when he fell in love and started a family, he realized that ”[Huntsville] was just a great place to be, and I just decided to stay here raising a family, and there’s a lot of opportunity[ies] [here].”
All his life, he has “loved the whole thing about school, [and] my family all revolved around that”. That’s why when Massey went on to run for superintendent “it was a family decision.” When he got the opportunity to start the school, Massey “figured that would be a good adventure.”
And then the planning started. “It was almost like a startup business,” he said. Everyone was involved in the planning process, and everyone was chipping in. Massey said, “For the first time, that was 12 months of not being in school as a student or a teacher teaching in school, and I had a lot of withdrawals from that, not being able to see learning happen and everything [like that].” His time planning and prepping this school for our use has been a great sacrifice that he has made.
In regards to the school’s principals, Massey said, “The [cyber] field changes so rapidly.” You cannot rely on a singular curriculum for cyber, and you constantly have to be learning. If things were to change in the cyber field, which they inevitably will, the school will change its curriculum to match the workforce’s needs. If you only sit on a certificate or degree you won’t succeed in your work, you need to constantly keep up with what’s going on. “You have to always be learning that next thing,” said Massey. “The thing to know about the workforce is [that] it’s going to change.” You have to embrace the learning process. The cyber field now takes more creativity than most other STEM fields, and it changes so fast. ”Being nimble and being able to adjust and stay up with what’s happening now is the most important thing, and that’s why kind of having the attitude of being a lifelong learner [is good]; if you’re not committed to that, you’re going to miss out.” Massey said