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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 Phil Shaman


Image Your school:
Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute, a 7-12 school in a small community 200 kilometers northwest of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (500 students).

Number of years in that position:
Eight years.

Your education experience:
28 years in education, including eight as a physical education teacher, 12 as a counselor, and eight as an administrator.

What's the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?
I check educational listservs and my e-mail, and I meet staff and students.

Do you expect to finish your working life in this career?
No. I am able to retire in two years. I would like to look at another career for a few years.

What is the biggest challenge you will face this school year?
Personal agendas of individuals who put their priorities ahead of the kids.

What is your education motto/mantra/mission?
"If it is good for the kids, do it."

What is an unforgivable trait in a colleague?

Who or what most influenced your decision to become an educator?
An educator who gave me an opportunity to be involved in sports and the desire to succeed.

What does your work contribute to society?
As educators, we are preparing the youth of today for the future. Hopefully, they will be responsible, caring, and contributing members of society.

What do you do to relieve stress?
I go into the school's gym area and do a workout with weights and ride on the exercise bike.

What are the most important qualities of a strong school leader?
Listen. Be proactive, not reactive. If you make a decision, stick with it. When faced with an educational issue, make a decision only if it will improve the quality of education for the kids.

If you're having a good day at work, what makes it good?
I've helped a student deal with a concern.