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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 Gail Graham


Your school:
Whitney Institute Middle School, a 6-8 school in Flatts, Bermuda (350 students).

Number of years in that position:
13 years.

Your education experience:
Several years as a teacher of English language and literature; various posts of responsibility, culminating in eight years as deputy principal.

How did you get your current job?
My predecessor and mentor retired.

What is the biggest challenge you will face this school year?
This will be my final year, and I want to leave the school in good order and with a good public reputation.

What is your education mantra/mission?
"School -- first, second, and third." My school has a 118-year history. It is my responsibility to enhance its traditions and maintain its history.

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?
It's my responsibility. If I don't, how can I expect anyone else to?

What does your work contribute to society?
You'd have to ask society for that one.

What do you do to relieve stress?
Make bobbin lace, do needlepoint, read, play computer games.

What are the most important qualities of a strong school leader?
Consistency, fairness, and the ability to make rational decisions.

If you had not been an educator, what would you have done for work?
I am doing what I always wanted to do, although I do miss being a classroom teacher. I am passionate about my school and its history. I love the original 1883 building that houses the administrative offices, despite its inconveniences. The greatest reward is having former students on my staff - - at present there are six of them!