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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.


Principal Profile: All About Marguerite V. McNeely


Image Your school:
Slocum Learning Center, Pineville, Louisiana.
(former principal, Hayden R. Lawrence Middle School, Deville, Louisiana)

Number of years in that position:
2008-09 is my first year at this school.

Your education experience:
15 years as a classroom teacher, more than 10 years in administration

What is the biggest challenge you will face this school year?
Budget cuts that will change the makeup of staff environment and perhaps reduce some positions.

How much work, if any, do you take home?
Physically, I take little work home, but I tend to stay late to finish whatever I need to do. I am always working mentally.

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 then next morning?
I have not had a day like that yet.

What is an unforgivable trait in a colleague?

What does your work contribute to society?
I try to show students the need for an education.

What do you do to relieve stress?
Fish, take photographs, ride horses, make pottery.

What is the most important quality of a strong school leader?

If you could have a different career, what would that be?
I have never wanted to do anything but teach, so I am happy with my job. But I want to change directions when I retire so I do not become stale.

What have you been reading lately?
I read many things, from books on how to build birdhouses to books about school safety issues.

If you're having a good day at work, what makes it good?
I interact with students a lot in a positive environment. I like teenagers. I enjoy watching them develop. So I find challenges daily in my job.