Having been away from the principalship and at the central office for almost a year and a half, I am at a stage where I think I am close enough to remember what he job was like, and far enough from it to have gained some perspective. My mentor, Dr. Henry Clark, often remarked, “I enjoy being a principal.” During my nine years as an elementary principal, that same statement was often on my lips.
Aside from being enjoyable, I honestly believe the principalship to be the most influential position in education. I began to realize in those early days that students, teachers, and other adults were hanging on my every word and looking to me for answers to the most perplexing problem.
I’ll never forget the day shortly following 9/11 when a mother recounted the day her daughter came home from school, a day on which I had to figure out how to explain a real-world tragedy to children who should never have to experience such. “Don’t worry, Mom,” she said. “Dr. Buck said we are going to be OK.”
I am proud of those nine years for the opportunity to make life a little better for the teacher in the classroom, for all of the times I tried to deflect the limelight away from me so that learning could be the star, and for the opportunity to be part of the magic of turning young boys and girls into young adults.