Search form

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 Addie Gaines


Addie Gaines Your school:
Kirbyville Elementary School, a PreK-3 school in Kirbyville, Missouri (175 students).

Education experience:
This is my third year as principal. Prior to that I was a kindergarten teacher for 11 years and an elementary assistant principal for 2 years in the Seneca (Missouri) school district.

How did you get your current job?
I decided to see what administrative opportunities were available in via Jobs for Educators in Missouri Schools. I called the superintendent here, who told me what a great school district this was and invited me to interview.

Whats the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?
I turn on my computer and download my e-mail. I encourage the teachers in my school to contact me via e-mail, so I want to provide timely responses.

What is your education motto?
I believe that we must meet each child "where he or she is" and take each child as far as we can. I want to support teachers as they reach kids. I want to help them grow and learn.

If you have a bad day, what is it that gets you out the door and off to work then next morning?
I concentrate on the hope for a brighter tomorrow! Also, if I have made the right decision, I know it, even if others are unhappy with it. I also try to remember that "most people get glad in the same pants they get mad in."

What most influenced your decision to become an educator?
I have always loved school and learning. Elementary school is full of wonderful memories for me. I want to be there to help kids have those kind of wonderful memories and to learn what they need to learn to be productive members of society.

If youre having a good day at work, what makes it good?
Im having a good day when things are moving like clockwork, teachers and children are cheerfully engaged in valuable academic pursuits, and I have the opportunity to be out and about and part of the action.

What special thing do you do that you think all principals should do?
I have two practices that I think are neat. One is that we gather as a school every morning to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing a patriotic song. This is a unifying time for all of us and it gives me the opportunity to welcome everyone to school and encourage them to have a great day. The other is that I send home a weekly school newsletter with digital photos, school info, and parent advice.

How do you motivate your staff to go above-and-beyond?
I try to recognize the positive in all the staff and express my appreciation for the job that they do.