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.
Doctors Inlet Elementary School, a K-6 school in Orange Park, Florida (836 students)
Number of years in that position:
I've been a principal for five years; two of those years have been at Doctors Inlet.
How did you get your current job?
Being recognized as a productive principal in an inner-city school where scores increased each year made others notice. Soon a job opportunity occurred within my home county.
What is the biggest challenge you will face this school year?
Accountability! With the state testing program and less money to accomplish our goals, this year will be very challenging. Being an "A" school has put the pressure on us to maintain it for the third year in a row.
Who or what most influenced your decision to become an educator?
Ernest Melby at Florida Atlantic University gave me the insight to understand that we can make a difference in society by directing children at an early age.
What do you do to relieve stress?
I walk for 45 minutes each night.
What have you been reading lately?
Each month our school has a "Book of the Month" that everyone reads. We just completed Craft Lessons: Teaching Writing K-8.
If you are having a good day at work, what makes it good?
I see all the students having a good time learning while teachers are enjoying their work.
What special thing do you do that you think all principals should do?
I set aside every Thursday afternoon to get into the classrooms. I also meet with students I call VICs (Very Important Children). Teachers send one child from each class, and I tell the kids stories and give them a pep talk. I tell them why they are important. At the end of the school year, I will have seen every child in the school at least once.