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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 Jim Clark


Image Your school:
T. R. Simmons Elementary School, a Pre-K-5 school in Jasper, Alabama (480 students).

Number of years in that position:
10 years.

Your education experience:
I worked eight years as a classroom teacher/coach at the high school level and five years as principal at an alternative school before taking this job.

How did you get your current job?
I had to apply twice before I got the current position. I am the third principal to serve at T. R. Simmons Elementary School.

Tell about a daily routine.
Each day, before I leave for home, I go over my agenda for the next day. I try not to plan more than three or four things in order to make myself available for students, parents, faculty, and staff if I'm needed.

Do you expect to finish your working life in this career?
Yes. I changed careers one other time and that wasn't as satisfying to me. I plan to move into the central office at some point, maybe as a superintendent or assistant superintendent.

What is the biggest challenge you will face this school year?
Proration!!!!!! [A percentage of the funding that local schools had planned to receive from the state is held back.] Our school system has never been affected like it is right now. ...

What is your education mantra?
I believe that "We educate one student at a time" here at T. R. Simmons.

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?
That's easy -- my wife! She reminds me that I am the principal and that it's my job to be at school.