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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 Jonathan Ross


Jonathan Ross Your School:
Drexel Hill Middle School, a 6-8 school in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania (1400 students)

Education experience:
I spent five years as a classroom teacher and four years as an assistant principal.

How did you get your current job?
Drexel Hill Middle School has been my home throughout my entire public school career. When our principal became superintendent, I was promoted to the position of principal.

What is your education motto?
Today We Learn, Tomorrow We Lead.

Who most influenced your decision to become an educator?
My biggest influence was the father of a good friend of mine who was our middle school principal. I got to see what a positive leader he was and he inspired me to become a middle school principal.

What do you do to relieve stress?
My best stress relief is to spend time with my family. I always feel so much better after playing with my kids or reading them a story.

What is the most important quality of a strong school leader?
In a word . . . integrity. If the staff and community do not see integrity on the part of their leadership, their confidence in the school will not exist.

If you could have a different career, what would that be?
I think that I would have enjoyed a career in the military or on a police force.

How do you motivate your staff to go above-and-beyond?
The best way to motivate people is with praise. We try to reward our staff by holding "non-traditional" meetings throughout the year that let them relax and enjoy each other's company. We usually kick off the year with a picnic and end the year with a luncheon at a unique location.

What else would you like to share about being a principal?
I think the biggest mistake that I see most principals make is trying to run a school by making everyone stick to the letter of the law with no gray areas. We need to respect our teachers as professionals by providing them with clear, but reasonable expectations.