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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 William Sheehan


Your school:
Allen Avenue School, a K-4 school in North Attleborough, Massachusetts (225 students)

Your education experience:
I was a classroom teacher for 23 years and an assistant principal for one and a half years. This is my first year as a principal.

What's the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?
When I get to work in the morning I have a chat with my custodian. It is the one time during the day that we can catch up on what is going on and plan for the coming day.

Do you expect to finish your working life in this career? Yes, I do. My job is very rewarding. I never know what will come up from one moment to the next, so it keeps me going.

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?
Sometimes daily stresses can get anyone down. I take a deep breath and head for the classrooms. Kids have the power to heal. They remind me every minute why I am there -- for them.

What is an unforgivable trait in a colleague?
Becoming upset with a child. Certainly, we can become disappointed, but we always need to view discipline problems as important learning opportunities.

What is the most important quality of a strong school leader?
The most important quality of a school leader is sensitivity. School leaders need to be good listeners.

If you could have a different career, what would that be?
If I was not an educator, I believe I would be a writer of children's books.

What have you been reading lately? I read many professional journals, but when I feel the need to escape, I love a good mystery.