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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 Dwayne Zarichny


Dwayne Zarichny Your School:
Dauphin Regional Comprehensive Secondary School, a 9 - 12 school in Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada (785 students)

How did you get your current job?
I was a superintendent in a northern Manitoba community that was dependent on the local mine. When the mine shut down, our division lost a huge number of students, and as a consequence, my position was phased out. During that time, the principalship at Dauphin became available, so I applied for the position.

What's the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?
Each morning, I meet with my vice principals. We review the previous day and chart the current day.

What is the biggest challenge you face this school year?
We are in middle stages of a school improvement planning process. As we go through this procedure, we have to step out of our former comfort zones and recognize our personal responsibilities to our students and our school.

What is your education motto?
My education motto comes from Maya Angelou: "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain."

Who or what most influenced your decision to become an educator?
I was drawn to education by the belief that I could have a profound impact on the lives of children. Over the years, this conviction has kept me in this field.

What is the most important quality of a strong school leader?
A strong school leader must have a set of core life principles so staff, students, and parents always know where you stand on important issues.

If you're having a good day at work, what makes it good?
It's a good day when the school is running smoothly and I have time to visit classrooms to see students and staff engaged in learning.

What special thing do you do that you think all principals should do?
I have informal luncheons with students -- ten to twelve at a time -- and really listen to them speak about their school. I think that principals can learn a tremendous amount about their schools by listening to students.