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Superintendent's News

Posted: April 23, 2021

Principals Keep the Faith

In his weekly message, Supt. Elder expresses his appreciation for school principals.

Superintendent Elder with Chaparral Elementary School Principal Felicia Mondragon

Superintendent Elder with Chaparral Elementary School Principal Felicia Mondragon

Principals sometimes get a bad rap, especially in pop culture. I once heard them described as the Rodney Dangerfields of the education profession: They don't get no respect.

I have nothing but respect for the school leaders in Albuquerque Public Schools. Having spent more than a decade as one of their peers, I know how hard their job is. I also know how big their hearts are and how much they care.   

That has become even more evident during the pandemic.

Our principals have been on the frontlines from day one of this crisis, finding new ways to interact and communicate with employees, students, and their communities. They have worked long hours at their schools, preparing them for the return of staff and students while assuring that remote learning remains robust. On top of their everyday responsibilities – which are many – our principals have become experts in everything from technology to air filters, surveillance testing to contract tracing, Zoom and Google Meet to ADA accommodations.

Each Tuesday during the pandemic, I have met with our principals and assistant principals remotely to catch them up on district news and provide guidance and support. I look forward to these weekly meetings because I have such an affinity for this group of professionals. These people are not afraid to ask questions, raise issues, or express concerns. But they are just as eager to share ideas, work together, and problem solve. I appreciate that they have a sense of humor; you have to in this line of work. I also know how seriously they take their responsibility as boss, colleague, role model, and friend. Don't forget – principals are your PAL (a little grammar humor for you).  

And boy, are our principals innovative. They have come up with all kinds of ways to engage students and staff, to stay in touch with families, to make sure instruction is sound, needs are met, schools are safe.

You don't become a school principal if you don't have faith in the educational system, if you don't believe to your core that education improves lives, both now and in the future. That belief dictates every aspect of the profession, from shaping the school's vision to creating a positive climate to managing people, data and processes. Good principals transform schools, and so many of ours are doing just that.  They build character, inspire dreams, close gaps, improve attitudes, change trajectories.

APS principals keep the faith, even in the most challenging of times. And I have great faith in them.  

May 1st is School Principals Day, an excellent opportunity to let the principals and assistant principals in Albuquerque Public Schools know how much they are appreciated. Really, we couldn't do our jobs without them.