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Each week, Education World profiles a different school principal or assistant principal. His or her responses offer insight into what a school administrator's day is like and the special challenges school leaders face.


Principal Profile: All About Paul Ford

Paul Ford Your School:
Main Street School, a K-2 school in Exeter, New Hampshire (530 students)

How did you get your current job?
I was fortunate enough to be selected as principal here 18 years ago.

Do you expect to finish your working life in this career?
Yes, I expect that five to six years from now I will retire from the principalship at Main Street School.

What is the biggest challenge you face this school year?
Each year, our greatest challenge is finding that balance between meeting the academic and emotional needs of our kids. Many of our youngsters come to school with social and emotional difficulties that must be addressed before successful, quality learning can take place.

What is your education mission?
Our mission is to provide a positive, safe learning environment that fosters a life-long love of learning and respect for individual strengths and needs.

Who most influenced your decision to become an educator?
My sixth grade teacher, Mr. Robert Muir, was a profoundly positive influence on my career choice. Mr. Muir was my first male teacher. He was a kind, caring, gentle, man who was quick to provide praise to his students for good work. I had just moved to a new city and Mr. Muir provided enormous support as I adjusted to my new school. He truly did an amazing job of enhancing my self esteem and guiding me appropriately. He is the reason why I am in education.

What does your work contribute to society?
I believe that educating children is one of most important jobs in any nation. Education is the basis for society to continue in a positive, productive way.

What do you do to relieve stress?
I enjoy playing golf, reading, and collecting sports cards.

What is the most important quality of a strong school leader?
A strong school leader must model respect for his or her staff, students, and community.

What else would you like to share about being a principal?
The principalship is the ultimate job! It is incredibly challenging, yet at the same time highly enjoyable. I believe the principalship is a critically important part to the success of any public school.