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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 S. Myers


William S. MyersYour position:
Principal, Washington Elementary School, a K-5 school in Sterling, Illinois (400 students)

Education experience:
I was a high school business education teacher and coach for 20 years, dean of a high school for three years, and a middle school assistant principal for six years. I have been an elementary school principal for six years, three of them at WES.

You have been involved at all levels of public education. How do they differ?
When I was a high school teacher, I used to think, "How can elementary teachers complain about how tough their jobs are when they are teaching little kids?" After serving as a principal in two elementary schools, give me a class of seniors any day! Young kids have way too much energy for most adults to handle.

What's the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?
With a cup of coffee in hand, I walk around the school and visit classrooms.

What is the biggest challenge you face this school year?
Overcoming the fallout of a $2.4 million deficit.

What is your education motto?
People -- kids, staff, and parents -- come first.

How much work do you take home?
I do most of my paperwork at home.

What is an unforgivable trait in a colleague?
Being abusive to kids, verbally or otherwise.

Who most influenced your decision to become an educator?
My high school wrestling coach, whom I admired and respected.

What does your work contribute to society?
Education keeps us free. We contribute freedom and a sense of worth to students.

What do you do to relieve stress?
I exercise, or I visit the kindergarten classrooms.

If you could have a different career, what would that be?
Before finishing my teaching degree, I considered entering the advertising arena.

What have you been reading lately?
I continually do Internet research. I want to become more Web literate, so I have lots of computer books and magazines. For pleasure, I always read mysteries.

If you're having a good day at work, what makes it good?
Humor and peace fill the school.

What special thing do you do that you think all principals should do?
Smile and care.

How do you motivate your staff to go above-and-beyond?
I model and create an environment that rewards risk takers.