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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 Jeffrey A. Castle


Your School:
Collins Lane Elementary School, a PreK - 5 school in Frankfort, Kentucky (575 students)

Education experience:
I spent ten years as primary teacher, three years as an assistant principal, and three years as a principal.

How many hours do you work each week?
I work 60 hours each week.

What's the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?
I answer e-mails, about 60 per day.

What is the biggest challenge you face this school year?
The biggest challenge I face this year is meeting the needs of a wider variety of students from a variety of demographic backgrounds. In addition, our classes are over cap size and we have had to split grade level classes.

What is your education motto?
Success For All!

If you have a bad day, what is it that gets you out the door and off to work the next morning?
I remember that 575 students look forward to seeing me every day. If I am having a bad day at work, I simply step into the cafeteria during the kindergarten and first-grade lunch times and they begin chanting my name... What a pick-me-up!

Who most influenced your decision to become an educator?
My father greatly influenced my decision to enter education by simply providing support and encouragement. His aspiration for me was to get my bachelor's degree and to be in teaching, something he knew I greatly desired. I had played school with family members for years!

What do you do to relieve stress?
I enjoy quiet time. I also enjoy spending time with friends and attending social outings.

What is the most important quality of a strong school leader?
A strong school leader must have organization skills as well as knowledge of curriculum and instruction.

If you could have a different career, what would that be?
I would have gone into medicine or law.

How do you motivate your staff to go above and beyond...?
I lead by example, which encompasses my job expectations as an instructional leader. I provide all my teachers with the opportunity to observe me teaching a model lesson; I go into the classroom and teach the lesson, including all the components of a master lesson. In follow-up sessions, the teacher critiques the performance and uses the information to frame his or her own teaching understanding and practice.

Would you recommend the principalship as a career?
Yes, I highly recommend a principalship for anyone who has taught a variety of grade levels and achieved milestones as a teacher. The next logical step is to become a teacher of teachers. Although very rewarding, being a principal is quite frustrating, exhausting, and less than fulfilling at times. However, to see teachers flourish, and then to see the positive results in student achievement, is all the reward this job needs.