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Posted October 3, 2014

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Carrie McGill, Principal

McCollum Elementary School

Honoring our principals as part of National Principals Month


Meet Carrie McGill, Principal at McCollum Elementary School.

What made you decide to become a principal?
After twenty-eight years in the classroom, then serving as a PAR consultant, I decided that I wanted my knowledge of curriculum and instruction to go beyond my classroom. I held an administrative license for 20 years without being an acting principal.

What advice would you provide to someone interested in becoming a principal?
Consider why very carefully. Understand the difference between management and teaching. Know how to have difficult conversations.

Please share with us one experience you are proud of or a rewarding experience you have had as  principal.
I recently had a conversation with a very closed and reticent parent who felt her child was not in need of testing and wanted no part of Special Education. After a long conversation about parent rights and how students feel about themselves when they can not read, the parent agreed to testing. I am not an advocate for special education but the conversation with parent created a trust that I don't think had existed in a long time.

What is something that you would like to share with the public/district administration about your school that we might not know?

McCollum has a staff of 40 Educational Assistants who work with the most challenging population of Autistic students and ISP students in our district. We are very proud of them and the work they do everyday.

Please provide one sentence/paragraph about your overall thoughts of being a principal, and what it means to you.
Being a principal is the most emotionally challenging work I have ever done. I believe there will be at time where this is not the case, but for now, in my third year it is. My goal is to change a culture of fear of improvement to one that has more positive energy and results. If I could see this come to fruition, all the racing heart and tears would be worth it.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I think what I shared above is my message. Principals need a great deal of support. Their districts need to recognize this. It would be even more supportive if districts and Unions could work more effectively to create a culture of improvement and reward for hard work.

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