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Gutknecht: ‘If I was principal for a day…’

When I was in elementary school I remember being handed a writing prompt that read “If I was principal for a day I would…” Well, Monday morning that prompt turned into reality as I walked into Alcovy High School and served as the principal for a day.  I can honestly say the day did not go as I predicted it would back in elementary school, but it was rewarding nonetheless.

The day started bright and early as I got to school a lot earlier than I normally get to The Covington News office. Dr. Sandra J. Owens greeted me at the door and we immediately got started.

First, we attended a meeting with department heads to talk about the school’s College and Career Ready Performance Index scores, among other data. After that, we immediately jumped into a parent meeting for a student who was looking to enroll in either the high school or the alternative school.

Dr. Owens then took me on a tour of the school. During this tour, the bell rang. When I tell you it was like the flood gates opening up, I am not kidding. We were in the freshman hall and the doors swung open and students filled the halls.

It was amazing to me that even with more than 1,500 students in the school, Dr. Owens knew individual student names effortlessly. I am personally horrible at remembering names, so that was encouraging to see.

After our tour, Dr. Owens took me back to her office and we talked through some of the important data she analyzes daily to help teachers and students succeed. It was interesting to me to see how detailed the information was and how involved everyone is in making sure each student is receiving the best education possible.

After my stint as principal, I am happy to say Alcovy High School is still standing and I have a better appreciation for what the educators in that building do on a daily basis.

Next, all of the temporary principals met with NCSS administrators to discuss our experience. To put all everyone’s remarks into one word, it would be “rewarding.” While we all had different experiences at different schools, we all left with a positive outlook.

The Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce coordinated with the school system to gather the businesspeople to serve as principals as an effort to blend organizations.

“In most communities, people play in their silos … We’re determined to break those silos down,” Chamber President Ralph Staffins said. I personally think you’re doing just that.

Thank you to the Newton County School System and Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce for coordinating this event and I look forward to participating again next year.

Jackie Gutknecht is the managing editor of the Covington News. She can be reached at Twitter: @jackieg1991