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.
Henry Barnard School, a Pre-K-6 laboratory school on the campus of Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island (310 students).
Your education experience:
I taught eight years, served two years as a summer school principal, and 15 years as principal in a nearby town before coming here. I've been here nine years as principal and assistant professor.
How did you get your current job?
It was through the longest series of interviews I have ever been involved in!
What's the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?
I check the building to make sure everything is OK, and then I check to determine the status of the daily subs. Do we have enough?
What is your education motto/mantra/mission?
"You cannot please everybody, so do what you believe is right for the children."
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?
The desire to face, and resolve -- as much as possible -- whatever made the day before that bad.
What is an unforgivable trait in a colleague?
A closed mind.
What do you do to relieve stress?
Talk things over with my wife, exercise, reflect, and play some golf.
If you could have a different career, what would that be?
What have you been reading lately?
Anything by Ann Rice or Elmore Leonard.
What keeps you motivated?
The opportunity to influence future teachers before they have their own classrooms continues to be intriguing. Changing the behavior of someone who has been teaching for five to ten years is problematic; it is more efficient to have teachers enter the profession with the desired skills, knowledge, and dispositions.