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Posted October 1, 2014

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Scott Elder, Principal

Sandia High School

Honoring our principals as part of National Principals Month


Meet Scott Elder, Principal at Sandia High School.

Prior to your experience at Sandia, where else have you worked in APS, and what were your roles?

HIGHLAND HS - Principal
CEC/ECA - Principal
McKINLEY MS - Principal

What made you decide to become a principal?

I was asked to apply for a Dean's position and discovered I liked being able to work with students and staff in this manner. The people around me encouraged me to keep working and to learn more. The more I learned, the more I realized I was good at this, and I decided I wanted to run a school.

What advice would you provide to someone interested in becoming a principal?
Make sure you have the right reasons for doing it. More money isn't going to make you (much) happier. Principals have to deal with some extremely difficult situations. Your heart needs to be in the work, or you'll break.

Please share with us one experience you are proud of or a rewarding experience you have had as principal.
There are a lot, but one experience that has always stuck with me was a young man that I helped get clothing. He received his first articles of clothing from Assistance League that were not hand me downs, and he was so proud to get them. Those one on one moments are really powerful. You don't forget them.

What is something that you would like to share with the public/district administration about your school that we might not know? 
I don't believe people realize how much a principal has to do, especially when times are bad. If a student or staff member passes away; it is the principal who provides strength and guidance. I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with staff members who are going through marital issues, parents who are struggling with putting food on the table, and children who are being abused. We see all the bruises, the bumps, the ugliness, that is out there. And we're the ones who take the steps to correct the issue. We stand with our staff members and students. We provide support for the families. The difference between principals and teachers? We see it all.

Please provide one sentence/paragraph about your overall thoughts of being a principal, and what it means to you.

There are days I get a little fed up with the job, honestly. There are so many ridiculous mandates, parents who are unreasonable, students who make such bizarre choices. But the majority of the time, I like my job. I stand for something important and I make a difference. I like kids, and being around them is great. When I'm done, I hope I've made a difference in the lives of my students, even if they don't know it.

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