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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 Mary Goedert


ImageYour school:
Village Oak Elmentary School, a K-4 school in Novi, Michigan

What's the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?
I try to put my personal things in order -- including the day's priorities -- and turn on the computer before anyone notices I'm there. The first "work thing" I do, if I don't have a meeting, is to go out into the school to visit with staff.

What is your education motto?
Take care of the teachers, because they'll take care of the kids, and then the parents will be happy.

Who or what most influenced your decision to become an educator?
I loved school from the first grade. I'm curious about new things, I love learning, and I welcome the challenge that comes with change!

What do you do to relieve stress?
I read, work out, and talk to my daughters on the phone.

What is the most important quality of a strong school leader?
Empathy is important -- if people don't know that you care about them, they won't follow you.

What have you been reading lately?
Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension to Increase Understanding (Stephanie Harvey) and Results Fieldbook: Practical Strategies from Dramatically Improved Schools (Mike Schmoker).

If you're having a good day at work, what makes it good?
It's a day when nothing gets in the way of teaching and learning.

Do you have a wish for America's schoolchildren?
My biggest wish is that parents would really understand the impact they have on whether or not their children do well in school. From prenatal care and preschool development to school attendance, supporting homework, demonstrating an interest in how or what the child does in school ... parents are the biggest influence in a child's success in school. Teachers cannot do it alone!