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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 James Thompson

Your school:
Wolcott Street School, a K-5 school in LeRoy, New York (the birthplace of JELL-O!)


How long have you been in your current job?
I have been a principal here for 15 years.

What is the biggest challenge you face this school year?
Making sure that I am accessible to kids, teachers, and parents. Days when there are a dozen meetings cannot intrude on my goal to be out there in the classrooms and hallways of my school.

What is your education mantra?
Is it best for the kids? If so, then let's work on doing it. If not, why are we doing it?

How much work do you take home to do?
I have a docking station in my office so I can take my computer home each night. I take work home at least three nights a week.

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 then next morning?
I remind myself that the parents of LeRoy have given me a sacred trust -- caring for and making a difference with their children!

What is an unforgivable trait in a colleague?
Giving up on a kid.

What do you do to relieve stress?
I walk, read, and remember to laugh!

What have you been reading lately?
Robert Fried's The Passionate Learner. It's a great book. He has wonderful ideas about the concept of "relationships"!

If you are having a good day at work, what makes it good?
Seeing our vision played out on behalf of kids!

Do you expect to finish your working life in this career?
I am eligible for retirement in three years. I hope to look at a second career in another field after I retire.