Each week, Education World profiles a different school principal. His or her responses offer insight into what it takes to be a principal, what a principal's day is like, and the special challenges a principal faces.
Southdown Elementary School, a Pre-K through 6 school in Houma, Louisiana (550 students).
Number of years in that position:
What is your education motto/mantra?
My motto is True Failure Is to Not Try.
If you have one of those days when you don't think you can face the job again, what is it that gets you out the door and off to work the next morning?
I try to take the day -- or the problem -- in small pieces. Someone once said, "Eat the toad first." If there is a really unpleasant task, do it first and get it over with; you'll feel better immediately.
What is an unforgivable trait in a colleague?
Betraying confidentiality. We are a public school, but what goes on is very private.
Who or what most influenced your decision to become an educator?
My grandmother was a teacher until she married. (The rule then was that married women could not teach.) I enjoyed many school stories at her knee.
What do you do to relieve stress?
I love to go to a bookstore with my husband, drink coffee, and read. If the stress gets really bad, I head for any place that has lots of water. Sitting on a beach -- even in winter -- is very soothing to me.
If you could have a different career, what would that be?
That career would probably be in the medical field. I'm rejuvenated when I can help someone.
What have you been reading lately?
I've been reading -- and highly recommend -- If You Don't Feed the Teachers, They Eat the Students. It is a great book for school administrators.
If you're having a good day at work, what makes it good?
I try to get into every classroom every day. When I cannot, the day isn't a good day at work.