More Than a Principal
A Chicago public school principal is truly a jack of all trades. On top of their daily work, our principals take on many other roles. They are teachers, advisors, coaches, counselors, parents, friends, role-models and so much more. Here are some of many who go above and beyond their role as principal.
At the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, Principal Bill Hook mandates that every staff member teach a class. He wanted to teach the largest class in the building so he told his programmer, “Give me 35 students so I can feel their [teachers’] pain.” He remembers this morning class as the best part of his day. Principal Jennifer Reid of Rauner College Prep also teaches to “stay in tune with what students need.”
Both Principal Ricardo Trujillo of Monroe Elementary and Principal Josh Emmett of CICS Northtown coached their students. At Monroe, Ricardo prioritizes face time with students to prevent educator-student disconnect by coaching basketball and other sports. Josh’s time spent coaching football solidified his love of teaching. He feels that effective coaching is the same as effective teaching without the walls. He explained, “You’re out in the field, but everything you know about organization, motivation and relationships is right there. I found that it made me a much better teacher and certainly helped me develop relationships with kids, parents and others that became a big part of why I do what I do.”
Principal Carol Devens-Falk of Corkery Elementary often acts as a counselor. Students feel comfortable reaching out to Carol when they are upset because she always makes herself available. When a student runs out of the classroom distraught, “[I] take the time to sit and talk with them about what the issues might be with the intent of getting them back up to the classroom,” she said.
Professional Development Coach
DeVry University Advantage Academy’s principal, Carolyn Eggert, offers professional development directly to the DeVry professors who work in the program. It pays off because “professors have reported that it has helped make them better teachers,” she said. Similarly at CICS Northtown, 75 percent of Josh’s job description is working with teachers on instruction. He is an instructional coach for a group of teachers, frequently giving them feedback about their practices inside the classroom.
Many Chicago principals take on roles beyond their job descriptions. They take on the additional role of teacher, coach and counselor because they are dedicated to their school and students.