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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 Beth Burt


Dr. Katherine A. James Your School:
Scott Johnson Elementary, a PK-4 school in Huntsville, Texas (700 students)

Education experience:
I spent 12 years as a special education teacher, five years as assistant principal, five years as an elementary principal, and two years in central office. I have been on this campus for two years.

What is the biggest challenge you face this school year?
Growing enrollment. Our school continues to grow in population. Every space is used as an instructional class room. Even the book room is used for speech therapy. Our budget was based on 550 students so money is even tighter than usual.

What is your education motto?
To get to a child's mind, you have to get his or her heart first.

What does your work contribute to society?
I believe a successful principal must be involved in the community. In today's society, the school must be an integral part of a neighborhood.

What is the most important quality of a strong school leader?
Credibility. It's important that a school leader can be trusted by the staff, the parents, and the students. Central office must also be able to trust a school principal to do what is right for his or her campus. Trust and credibility must be earned by actions.

What special thing do you do that you think all principals should do?
I get to know each child's name. I greet children at the front door each day and in the cafeteria. By knowing their names it helps develop a relationship with each student.

How do you motivate your staff to go above-and-beyond?
I treat each staff member as a person and get to know their families. When a teacher does something above and beyond his or her duties, I write that teacher a small note to let him or her know it was appreciated. We also open each faculty meeting with a Marvelous and Magical moment. Teachers share personal and professional successes in their lives.