We interviewed two of our current Possip Reporters and also former principals, Amy Kate Wilkins and Amanda Richards, so they could share their experiences to celebrate National Principal Month 2021.
Principal Appreciation Spotlight
With October comes cooler weather, Autumn leaves, and cozy mornings. School is now in full swing for most, and there are a lot of reasons to love this time of year. Still, in the midst of the pandemic, there are a lot of challenges students, parents, and educators alike are facing. As the educators in your life experience another year of educating through the pandemic, we want to highlight some ways to celebrate and encourage them. This month is National Principals Month.
Principals are important leaders within our school communities who consider the well-being of our students, teachers, and families alike. Author and thinker Brene Brown says, “A brave leader is someone who says I see you. I hear you. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m going to keep listening and asking questions”. Our principals are brave leaders who as Amy Kate Wilkins states, “need space to rest and recharge too.”
This October, we want to give you a few ideas about how you might celebrate these brave leaders throughout the entire year!
A Simple “Thank You” Goes A Long Way
Amy Kate Wilkins states, “A sincere, unexpected “thank you” always meant the most— to feel seen and acknowledged for the work is not expected but was always welcomed and well received! You do not serve in the role of principal for the gratitude, but a genuine expression of thanks made all the difference some days.”
Everyday tasks are easy to overlook, but our principals are always working tirelessly behind the scenes. A simple thank you, or moment of gratitude can go a long way! Challenge yourself to go out of your way to say thank you to your principal this month!
When asked about what communities can do to make principals feel appreciated, Amanda said, “Words of affirmation–like just sending a quick email with a positive note–I kept an email folder that I would save positive emails in that I could open when I needed a “pick-me-up.” Also–cards, drawings, or notes are always a pick-me-ups! Principals don’t always get as many tangible reminders of affirmation to keep on their desks or in their offices. So those are some ways that I always cherished and made me feel appreciated.”
Consider writing your principal an intentional note or sending them an email that shares thoughtful words of affirmation.
Moments of Joy
Both Amanda and Amy Kate agree on the importance of celebrating their students, teachers, and families while working as principals. Sharing moments of joy made all of their hard work incredibly worth it.
According to Amanda, “School events always feel super memorable when looking back. Things like the science fair, cultural events, graduation ceremonies, school dances, and other events. It’s such a joyful time where students, teachers, and families come together to celebrate all the accomplishments and just have fun together as a community. Especially during this difficult time, the importance of community building can’t be overstated.” However, as much as we love in-person events, we know some of us are still requiring virtual events. Check out the Waverly Belmont story to see a great example of hosting an event in spite of COVID and while keeping to protocols!
Amy Kate adds to this sentiment when she says, “Interactions with students and their hilarious antics made each day! I often got my fill by doing morning duty in the cafeteria to kick off the day. Something about interacting with students and getting to know them as people gave me the fuel I needed for the day.”
Moments of joy fuel your principal! Don’t be afraid to invite your principal into your classroom if you’re a teacher. Or if you’re a family member, try sparking up a conversation with your principal at the next school event!
Advice to Principals
Principals-we didn’t forget about you! Amy Kate and Amanda have some of their favorite words to share with you from when they were principals themselves.
- “I do not know if it’s the most memorable, but after leaving the role what I have missed the most is serving others. I did not do the job perfectly and there were a lot of stones left unturned, but I loved being able to genuinely serve and care for my staff, students, and our families.” -Amy Kate
- “Be visible. I think being around for students, families, and teachers to see is so important for the school overall. I put hallway transitions on my calendar, took morning greeting duty, helped with lunch duty a few days a week, was outside at carline and tried to work from classrooms instead of your office on quick to-do tasks. Being present builds trust and helps you get a really good pulse on the school.” -Amanda