Search form

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 Deborah Harbin


Image Your school:
Duryea Elementary, a pre-k to 5 school in Houston, Texas.

Number of years in that position:
3 years.

Your education experience:
13 years as a teacher, 6 as an assistant principal.

What is the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?
Unpack the work I took home and look at the calendar for the day.

Do you expect to finish your working life in this career?
Yes, as a principal or in some form of school administration.

What is the biggest challenge you will face this school year?
Student achievement and preparing my staff to handle the at-risk students we serve.

How much work, if any, do you take home?
Lots! Mostly paperwork, so that my time during the day can be devoted to the children and teachers.

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?
Thinking about a specific student for whom I have made a difference.

What is an unforgivable trait in a colleague?
Hurting a child physically or emotionally.

What does your work contribute to society?
Education is the only hope there is to change lives. If children can read, do math, and follow social rules, they can be successful in the world.

What do you do to relieve stress?
Walk, sometimes. Pray. Talk to a friend. Surf the Internet. Read.

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

If you could have a different career, what would that be?
A pediatrician.