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Before and After: Coker as a student during his elementary years at Tallassee and as THS principal

Coker ready for next step

By Michael Butler

Tallassee High School principal Matt Coker is wrapping up his final days in office on Barnett Boulevard. Next month, he will be bound for Monroeville.

"Eight years can go by in a hurry," Coker said of his tenure as principal. "I've probably given out a thousand diplomas. We've had a great run. I'm looking forward to seeing what coach Stewart and our faculty will continue to do here in Tallassee."

Chet Stewart served alongside Coker as assistant principal and is assuming Coker's position.

"We have a capable leader," said Coker. "Coach Stewart has been 13 years. All of it came together for me that this is the right time."

Coker just completed his 25th year in education. He is a 1990 graduate of THS.

"My mom, my dad, my grandparents attended this school. I've had three of my kids come through. My youngest is 19 and is at the University of North Alabama. The timing was good. This was a date and a time I've had in mind for a long time. It's not something that just popped up.

"This was a dream job. I actually applied three years before I got it. Bobby Abrams was awarded, rightfully so at the time. That kind of drove me to stay after that goal. It just worked out."

Coker will become headmaster at Monroe Academy in Monroeville for the next school year.

"Everything in Monroeville is named after, "To Kill a Mockingbird," Coker said of the famous novel written by Monroeville native Harper Lee. "I feel like Monroeville is similar to Tallassee; about the same size, same types of restaurants. It felt homey to me.

"It's definitely nice to know you'll draw retirement and what they call 'double dip.' I was looking at going out of state or the private sector. I feel like I have a very good opportunity."

As headmaster, Coker will be over the entire system.

"It's kindergarten for three-year-olds through 12th (grade). It's about 370 total students. We have 530 at Tallassee High School. It's kind of the principal and superintendent all rolled into one."