Today’s guest post is written by Ken Wenglewski, Manager of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program. Last month, Ken had a chance to see firsthand the challenges and rewards of running a public school. We thought his experience was a great way to show how people can create and maintain links between schools and the neighborhoods.
On April 5th, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in Tulsa Public Schools’ “Principal for a Day” at Rogers High School, under the leadership of Stacey Vernon. Stacey was awarded Principle of the Year so it was an honor to shadow her work.
Coming to Rogers was a bit surreal. My wife attended Rogers so walking the halls was very nostalgic.
My day started by working with the Assistant Principal Kendra Bremlett. We talked about her role as support for Stacey. We also spoke of the exciting things that will be happening this Fall with the implementation of College Summit; one of our department’s educational partners.
Later, Stacy took over and we met with April Dalto, a science teacher who had her class cook hotdogs with natural sunlight. The class was energetic, engaged and very creative.
Back in Stacy’s office, I was offered the opportunity to communicate through an Auto-dialer system called School Connects. I read a script out loud, on the phone, telling parents to show up at a bowling event. I had a blast sounding like a DJ for a radio station!
There was another memorable moment back at Stacey’s office. She has a pinball machine in the back office that she likes to use when she isn’t buried in instructional leadership duties. Needless to say, it isn’t used very often.
To that point, the most amazing thing that I observed with Stacey was her ability to know all of the students by name. If that wasn’t impressive enough, she’s also very in tune with each child’s educational status (at any time); something I found most astounding. Not just in this visit, but in the 9 months that I’ve met with Stacey walking the halls, she always seems to find time to connect with students and ask how their world is. It’s no wonder that she was awarded Principal of the Year.
My visit concluded at the Education Service Center where all of the principals, as well as those who shadowed them, met for an award ceremony.
It was a time to share “a day in the life of a principal.” Dr. Ballard, superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, MC’d the event and walked to various tables asking for comments. Overall, the remarks were mostly the same; that principals are working hard to lead teachers for a child’s success. Dr. Ballard came to me and I echoed the sentiments. I did add one thing. I directed Dr. B to my camera and showed him the picture of Stacey hard at work on…the pinball machine. It garnered some good laughs.”
I hope to be invited again next year.