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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 Dr. Les Potter


Image Your school:
Silver Sands Middle School, a 6-8 school in Port Orange, Florida (1,282 students).

Number of years in that position:
I am starting my second year as principal at SSMS. I spent seven years as a teacher, counselor, and coach; seven years as an assistant principal; and I've held various other jobs at the central office and university levels. I have been the principal of seven schools in four states.

How many hours a week do you work?
About 55 hours. My workday is 6:30 a.m. to 5:50 p.m.

Do you expect to finish your working life in this career?

What is the biggest challenge you will face this school year?
We had 2,000-plus students last year, but a new middle school was built to take our numbers to 1,200-plus. Adjusting to all the changes is this year's biggest challenge.

What is your education motto/mantra?
"Linking learning to life." We must try to make our school relevant to students.

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 have a responsibility to the students, staff, and parents. I enjoy my job and have never felt that way.

What is an unforgivable trait in a colleague?

Who or what most influenced your decision to become an educator?
I liked sports and wanted to coach.

What do you do to relieve stress?
I go home and try and forget about work.

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

If you could have a different career, what would that be? If possible, I would have been in professional sports.

What have you been reading lately?
Education books, journals, and magazines -- in print and on-line.