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Trussville administrator to have article published in education journal

By Gary Lloyd

TRUSSVILLE — Trussville City Schools Alternative Learning Center Principal Phyllis Faust will have an article published in September in The Alabama Journal of Educational Leadership.

Faust earned her doctorate in 2012 from Samford University, and her dissertation centered around middle school students, their voice and sense of belonging. The article is titled “The Relationship between Middle School Student Belonging and Middle School Student Performance.”

Phyllis Faust
submitted photo

Les Ennis and Will Hodge are co-authors of the article, and Faust is the lead researcher. Faust, the former principal at Hewitt-Trussville Middle School, said she presented her findings at the Mid-South Educational Research Association in Pensacola, Fla., last year, and at the Alabama Association of Professors of Educational Leadership this year in Montgomery.

Faust said that in elementary school, students are concerned with pleasing teachers, but as they begin to mature, their focus changes from not only pleasing teachers but pleasing peers, too. They become concerned with their appearance, “fitting in” and finding acceptance among their peers, she said. For some, Faust said, finding acceptance and peer approval takes precedence over academics.

“My study underscored the challenge in creating middle school communities that equally appreciate and confront social, emotional and academic developmental needs of students,” Faust said.

Faust said middle school students need healthy adult role models who listen and affirm their sense of well-being during a confusing time in their development.

“It is imperative that strong, positive and trusting relationships be established with all students,” she said. “Once these types of relationships are established, the possibilities for students are endless.”

Faust dedicated her work to her granddaughter, Riley.

“I believe that all students deserve to live and learn in classrooms that educate both the mind and the heart,” she said.

Contact Gary Lloyd at and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.

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