Everyone’s journey to becoming a school Principal is different. We would like to think that our motivations are all similar, but that is not always the case. I did not start out as an educator thinking that I would become a Principal someday. I actually enjoyed teaching so very much that I could have remained in the classroom until I retire.
My path to the Principalship is unlike many of my colleagues as my system leadership experience did not come through the Board’s Programme Services Department, but rather through the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario – Thames Valley Teacher Local. So why did I want to become a Principal?
Let me begin by sharing some anecdotes from some of my students.
You are a good Principal…
Little did he know that I felt like a small fish in a big pond when I was asked to be the Acting Principal at Wilberforce PS. Kids can be so kind.
I want to stay with you…
This broke my heart as it made me realize that some of our students have some big lions in their lives and we provide them with that one constant where they feel safe and cared for.
Then I walk by a kindergarten class in the hallway and I am greeted with “good morning Mr. Prinstipal!” or someone else would call out “good morning Mrs. Millward!” and I am brought to laughter as I give them a high five as they pass by me on their way to gym. It is the best experience ever….
These are my students and they know that I care about them because I show them that I care.
This job is tough but rewarding in so many ways. Balancing the management demands of the building with improving student learning and achievement is not always an easy thing to do, but I am fortunate to be surrounded by colleagues and knowledgeable others who have and continue to help me grow in this role. This ongoing support and mentorship serves as a model for how I can support staff as they work with the students in their classroom.
A Principal in our Board, asked me why I wanted to be a Principal. I told him that…
I love the feeling I get when I see students across all divisions succeed in learning something new, like using the open number line or decomposing numbers for example, and how proud they feel about it.
I love the feeling I get when staff, my admin. partner and I are learning and “working together, sharing knowledge, skills and experiences to improve student achievement and the well-being of both students and staff.”
I love the feeling I get when building school-community partnerships whether it be through Lucan Hockeyville or preparing for the School-Lucan Remembrance Day Memorial.
I love these feelings and that is why I want to be a Principal.
My diverse experiences have allowed me to develop skills that are beneficial in this role. This role requires a balance between those skills that are needed to collaboratively plan and implement the school’s improvement plan/s and those skills that will help one navigate complex situations with people…and I have had to deal with a few of these in my role as VP and in my role as Acting Principal.
I applied to be a Principal with the Thames Valley District School Board because the Board’s Mission, Vision, and Commitments align perfectly with my educational and leadership philosophy.
- that every student can learn and succeed;
- in lifelong learning;
- In excellence;
- in equitable and inclusive education
I support positive learning environments that are bias free, barrier free, and free from discrimination. Having grown up in South Africa, I know the impact of discrimination. I lived it. I felt it. Yet my parents and teachers guided me and instilled in me the value of education which formed the basis of my character development. I want to share these values with my students because it has stood me in good stead.
We all want the best for our students and we want to give them a learning experience that they will always remember fondly and one that will form the basis of their choices later on in life. If we can achieve this goal, then we would have fulfilled our role as educators, I believe.