The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Spotlight: Alexander Duncan’s Unexpected Path to Teaching

Lara Schuerhoff

Staff Writer

Alexander Duncan has held a wide variety of positions in his 15 years at ACHS, his new role as the Minnie Howard campus administrator just the latest. He has been the dean of students, assistant principal, English teacher, and even summer school principal. He was selected for the campus administrator position in September 2021, a new chapter in his 18 years of education.

Duncan started his journey to education in his senior year of college at Johnson C Smith University. “I felt what I believe to be a calling to education,” he said.

While he planned to be a lawyer and minor in political science, Duncan met with an old high school teacher, who asked if he ever thought about working in education. Duncan said that after their meeting, “a light bulb went off and it just never went out after that.”

It was that same teacher who helped Duncan get his first teaching job in Prince George’s County, kicking off a career that would start strong and eventually lead him to ACHS. 

At college, Duncan majored in English to prepare for law school. Instead, he went to graduate school to acquire his Masters of Administration, and later went back to college to start a doctoral study in English literature.

Before working full time in education, Duncan split his time with his production company. His company set up fundraising events such as competitions in the Washington, D.C. area, Atlanta, and New York. The company even worked with ACHS, which at the time was still named T.C. Williams. In 2015, Duncan shifted his focus to all education.

As a campus administrator, Duncan supports teachers as they provide instruction and education to students. Comparing his job as a campus administrator to his old job as a teacher, he said, “As a teacher my responsibility is to provide quality instruction to students. As an administrator my responsibility is to make sure that students beyond the classroom are all receiving the same quality.” 

Though the abnormally large number of students makes it a challenge, Duncan endeavors to have an impact on all students in his work to make sure students are treated equally and receive the same quality of instruction.

Duncan starts his day with a to-do list. He goes over substitutions, events from the previous day, and starts meeting with teachers, parents, and students. When the meetings start, that marks the beginning of the “thick of the day,” Duncan said.

A day in the life of a campus administrator at Minnie Howard is, “meeting to meeting to meeting to emergency to meeting.” he said. “There is never a dull moment.”

“I represent a couple of different groups of young people,” he said. He grew up with hardship like many others, so he understands what people are going through. “I tell young people who are struggling, when you think about five or ten years from now, I am an example of what you have to look forward to if you stay focused.” He said.

The one thing Duncan wants people to learn and remember from him is to, “do all the good you can for as many as you can for as long as you can.” He loves to hear that he makes an impact on his students’ lives. He most feels that his hard work has paid off when students are inspired to do good with their lives and be their best selves.

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Spotlight: Alexander Duncan’s Unexpected Path to Teaching