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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 Tim Messick


Tim Messick Your School:
Providence Day School, a TK - 12 school in Charlotte, North Carolina (1480 students)

Education experience:
I spent 12 years as a kindergarten through eighth grade classroom teacher and 11 years as a principal/director.

Do you expect to finish your working life in this career?
Yes, being an educator is my profession and "calling."

What is the biggest challenge you face this school year?
This year, a key challenge is keeping positive spirits and attitudes towards a number of issues on everyone's plate.

What is your education motto?
Success for every child! Childhood is a journey, not a race. Make a difference, one day at a time.

If you have a bad day, what is it that gets you out the door and off to work then next morning?
I know that each day I will have an opportunity to see and work with children again.

What is an unforgivable trait in a colleague?
Dishonesty is an unforgivable trait. Apathy and a negative attitude are unacceptable as well.

Who most influenced your decision to become an educator?
Mrs. Ward, Mrs. Rhodes, and Mr. Hulse, all classrooms teachers, along with Pastor Nicholas, my minister, were instrumental in helping me choose a career in education.

What do you do to relieve stress?
I love to work in my yard; gardening is a joy. My family also raises pedigree rabbits and attends shows throughout the country.

What is the most important quality of a strong school leader?
One who encourages and supports teachers, trusts them professionally, and helps them feel like significant members of a wonderful and important profession.

What have you been reading lately?
I have been reading FISH! for Schools, Mission Possible, and 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

If you're having a good day at work, what makes it good?
It's a good day when I see happy and engaged students along with excited professionals who are taking risks, being creative, and having fun!

How do you motivate your staff to go above-and-beyond?
I engage them as professionals, seek their input, and provide notes and words of encouragement and support.

Would you recommend the principalship as a career?
Absolutely! If flexibility is part of your "game plan," administration just might be the right career for you.