| Back to "J" Interviews | Index of Interviews | Protocol | Home |
Q: I appreciate you taking the time to let me interview you, sir. I've put together a number of questions that I wanted to ask pertaining to you being a principal, but I'd like to start from the very beginning. Where were you born?
(Streamed audio file of interview for this question using RealPlayer)
A: Charlotte, North Carolina.
Q: So, you are a southerner by birth. Was all of your education in the Charlotte, North Carolina area or did you move around?
A: No, I went to Texas Christian University for a while which is in Fort Worth, Texas. Then I received an AB Degree from Lenoir Rhyne College, a MA Degree from North Carolina University at Chapel Hill, and a Doctor's Degree at Duke University.
Q: Where along the line did you decide that you wanted to get into education?
A: My original intention was to be a minister. I majored in Greek and Philosophy as an undergraduate and I started seminary work and quit because I decided that it wasn't what I wanted to do. Then I went into teaching.
Q: I remember at one point in time, you told me that your older brother had been a minister.
A: Yes. He was a minister for years. I didn't exactly follow him.
Q: Was there anybody in your family who was an educator?
A: Yes, my great grandfather, on my mother's side, was a teacher. I suppose he wold be considered a teacher-farmer. He had a small plantation. He is the only educator I can remember from my close family.
Q: Can you think of any significant experiences while you were studying to get your teaching certificate?
A: Well, I started teaching by accident. I was waiting to go into the war, World War II, and I was visiting my brother in Florida. He frequently substituted. Teachers were needed very much and there weren't many men around. So they kept after him to substitute, and he suggested that they get me to come substitute teach. I went to South Broward Senior High School which is in Broward County near Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale. I began teaching there, and that's what happened. One year later, I was principal of Saluda High School in Saluda, South Carolina, in 1945.
Q: So, within one year, you are into your principal experience?
A: Yes, it was a small town with 12 teachers, and 300 students. We had grades nine through twelve. We had subjects like home economics, votechnical agriculture, three years of science and three years of math. I also did some coaching there also. If you were a principal, you also had to do some coaching. I was in athletics in college, so I liked it.
Q: Did you have a family by this time?
A: No, I wasn't married until my late twenties.
Q: So, you were a bachelor-teacher.
Q: Well, you said that you started teaching by accident, beginning as a substitute. Had any of your college courses prepared you for education?
A: No. I practiced on the youngsters. I liked the youngsters and I liked to study, so I went back in the summer time and took courses in methods, educational psychology, audio-visuals, and in measurements. Eventually, I received a degree in administration with a minor in psychology. The degree was really in Secondary Education and Psychology. I met the administration requirements.
Q: Was that the norm of the day that a lot of the people who were teaching got into it by accident and didn't have teaching crudentials, or did a lot of them go to college to meet the requirements for teaching?
A: I wouldn't say it was a norm for the day. It just happens. It still happens in Virginia. If you can get the non-collegiate certificate which is not the full certificate, you can teach. Also, if you are employeed by a superintendent, and he needs you to teach because he can't find anyone else, you can take the minimum hours and certify if he will attest that your two years of teaching has been successful. Then they can waive the student teaching requirements in Virginia. Q: Well, some of the questions I want to ask you pertain to your principal assignment, but I'm going to ask them to you a couple of different times because I am interested in the difference between your initial job as a principal and you last job as a principal. From what we've said so far, you got into education in 1945 or 1946 and a year later, with only one year as a teacher, you became a principal of a very small school? A: Well, there was a shortage of men, so the opportunity was there. A lot of the soldiers didn't get back into civilian life until as late as 1947.
Q: So, do you remember the name of the school at which you were a principal?
A: Yes, Saluda High School, which is in Saluda, South Carolina. That was my first job as a principal. We had twelve teachers and three hundred students.
Q: Was this still in a segregated situation?
A: Yes, it was an ll white school.
Q: Would you say that they came mostly from a rural background?
A: Yes, mostly rural.
Q: Did you hve the problem of busing students back and forth to school, or did they all live within walking distance of the school?
A: Most of them came by bus except the ones who lived right there in the little town of about twenty-five hundred people. We had ten buses, I think.
Q: How is it that you became a principal so quickly?
A: I was recommended for the job, I went to the interview, and the man hired me. I was an athlete, I was an honor student in college, and I had good recommendations, so he liked my background and he liked me.
Q: In those days, in comparison to your later assignments, were there any general school philosophies?
A: The emphasis was basically the fundamentals. Also, trying to meet the needs of the kids for most schools in those times. Today, they still are, to some extent. We tried to meet the needs of the children, so we were looking for ways to do something different with them, to give them some experience that they hadn't had. But, there was a limit to money. A: The school system hadn't gotten over the depression at that time. They were still suffering and the salaries were low. The government had just begun to get into the USDA's lunch room programs that were funded, and so, even the lunch rooms weren't really adequate. We provided occasional hot meals, but not every day. We provided food but it wasn't always heated.
Q: Do you have any idea of what a base salary for a teacher would be and what it might have been for yourself?
A: I think I got about $200 a month. It cost $30 a month to stay at this small place I found. It was what they called a ''collar-hotel'', about 3 stories. The lady served two meals a day. The food was very good. You could eat all you wanted and you got several choices of a meat and so forth. Being young and single, I got a lot of attention. It was very pleasant. I was getting some extra money for coaching, also. So, the average teacher got about $100 a month.
Q: Were most of your teachers female or were they a combination of male and female?
A: Well, the agriculture teacher was a male, and I had one other man on the faculty who lived in the community. There must have been ten females and two males.
Q: Was the stress in those days on reading, writing, and arithmetic? I imagine they didn't have all the side courses that we have now, or did they?
A: We had very few electives. We did have business subjects, economics, and agriculture. That was about all. Of course, agriculture would give the boys who were interested, courses in repairing of equipment, welding, and some electricity and some carpentry. They usually took three or four years in agriculture. The same thing went for economics.In home economics the girls got courses in sewing, cooking, housekeeping, hygiene, and all those types of things. In business, they would get courses in shorthand, typing, and bookkeeping.
Q: Did most of your students complete high school and go on to higher education?
A: Most of them completed high school, but only about 20% went on to higher education. Of course, that was a limited experience. When I became a senior high school principal, that was different. That was ten years later.
Q: So, this was not a senior high school?
A: No, that was my first year. I was only there for one year. Then I went on to a city high school. You see, you don't give the term "high school'' to a small town rural school. You had a problem where you said senior, but the student is really a junior or middle school. So, in those days, a typical junior high was seventh, eighth, and nineth. Senior high was named for schools in cities, not towns, counties, or rural cities.
Q: After that, what did you go on to do?
A: I went to a city high school as an assistant principal in Monroe, North Carolina, near Charlotte. It was a city of ten or twelve thousand people. The high school was a bit larger.
Q: What did your job as assistant principal involve?
A: It involved teaching about half the time and working with discipline.
Q: So, basically, the assistant principal was the school disciplinarian?
A: That's right.
Q: You were in charge of, not so much as administrative tasks as student management tasks.
A: I received about thirty dollars more a month. Every year the grass got greener, I moved.
Q: How long were you there?
A: I was there for about a year. Then I went to Parkih College ih Georgia. I was a professor there in human development. I also did some coaching.
Q: What kind of coaching did you do?
A: Football and baseball. I didn't stay there very long, either. I went to an academy for a couple of years in Maryland to get a masters degree and I also did some coaching with West Nottingham Academy which claims to be the oldest academy in the country. It was founded in 1730. Two of the signers of the declaration of independence went there. It also had John Wilkes Booth as a student there.
Q: How long were you there?
A: Two years. Then I went to a junior high school principalship.
Q: Did you teach at that place?
A: Yes. I went to be Principal of the Junior High School in the city of Henderson, North Carolina, which is above Raleigh.
Q: So we're in the early 1950's?
A: No, this was in 1948 or 1949. I was there for six years.
Q: Could you describe a little bit about your job?
A: I taught general science and I developed a lot of activities. We had about 400 or 500 students. I uniformed the band and-made it into a marching band. I organized the junior high football team, basketball, and baseball teams. I organized the intramural sports for girls and boys during each season.
Q: What was your specific title here?
A: I was the principal, and I also taught. They paid me a principal's salary, but I also had to do a lot of different things, because they didn't have much money. During that period, I received an MA Degree. I had a regular principal certificate in North Carlina, but in those days they didn't want you to be a principal or superintendent if you hadn't had experience already. They didn't even want a woman in the class if she hadn't had experience. A lot of people didn't like that approach. They pointed out that they couldn't get experience if they couldn't get a job to begin with. They had a lot of men coming in from World War II who had experience. A lot of them got master's degrees on the GI Bill. I developed a program in which seventh graders had two teachers, eighth graders had three teachers, and ninth graders had four teachers. We organized the subjects so that the language arts, literature, and spelling was a major block. They ran for about three or four periods. The students didn't change. The theory was that they should be introduced to more change as they get older and that they should spend more of their time in the language arts program, then differentiate for math and science. Then we had two period blocks for eighth graders and we put the history and social sciences together, and put the language arts together, and the science, math, and health together, in two hour blocks. Q: Do you remember what teachers were paid? When you left that job after six years, what was the salary and what might it have been later? A: The salary was about $5000. The teachers' salaries were about $3000 to $3500. Then you got more money if you had a master's degree and with the years. When I went on to become a district principal, my salary jumped up to $6500, which was a big raise.
Q: Was race an issue?
A: No, but we did have problems with the sections of town. The middle class children had some difficulties with the less middle class children. There was friction, but not like there was when there was a race involved. For instance, they demanded the middle class students to stay in the same group. I changed that when I became principal. The superintendent didn't want to agree with it, but I told him that there wasn't any other way than to put them in alphebetical order and put the first one in section one, second one in section two, and so forth. He told me that I would get ''chewed-up", but I did it, and I didn't get too much criticism. Some parents would say that their child was in a room in which they didn't know anyone.
Q: Then you went on to become a district principal?
A: Yes, I had three or four schools, including black schools, under me at that time. That was in Wake County.
Q: Was there a big difference between how the black schools were run as compared to how the white schools were run?
A: The facilities were absolutely as good as the white ones.
Q: What year was this?
A: This was in 1954 or 1955. I got white schools accredited by the southern association and at the same time, we got the black school approved. They wouldn't give accreditation in 1955 to the black schools, but we got it approved, and I think it was the first time in a district that a white school and a black school had gotten accredited in the same year. That school was away from the school district and the white school had quite a history. One of the graduates was Johnathon Daniels who became editor of the New York Times and married Margaret Truman. I met him and Margaret Truman when I was a principal there.
Q: Did the black teachers have the same kind of accreditation as the white teachers?
A: When I would talk to them, they would have an internalized abuse that many whites had toward blacks. What can you expect? The facilities that they operated in were good and they got the same kind. In that county, they were already being paid equal to whites. That wasn't true in South Carolina when I first started. When I got to the principalship in Wake County, we were meeting with the blacks. The principals were meeting with the other black principals. So, even though there wasn't any integration, there was already the mixing of the staff, not for teaching purposed, but just for meeting purposes and problem purposes.
Q: That is very interesting. Where did you go from there?
A: Roxboro, North Carolina. I was a senior high school principal.
Q: What was that like?
A: Well, Roxboro is a mill town in North Carolina. It was a big senior high school with about 1000 students. After that I became the district superintendent and I had about twelve or fifteen schools in that whole area under me.
Q: So, administratively, you as a person really grew. You started acquiring more schools and really enhancing your skills.
A: I had a lot of different opportunities to go to a lot of places like New York to be a superintendent. I turned it down. There was too much friction about how a school should be run. I decided that I didn't want to deal with that again. Although I was just in my 30's, I had had a long period of administration,
Q: And that was the last time you were a principal?
A: Yes, or even a superintendent.
Q: Was that when you went on to higher education?
A: Yes, in 1957 and 1958.
Q: Well, what I really want to focus on is your very last principal experience. What was the name of the last school that you were a principal of?
A: Roxboro High School, in Roxboro, North Carolina. It is about 30 miles north of Durham, North Carolina. 9. Q: By this time you had been in education for about ten or eleven years. You had already hd three principalships prior to this. Could you mentally describe the school to me? A: Well, it was a rather large building, probably built in the 1930's. While I was there, we got an addition to the building. We got a cafeteria, and I put in two tennis courts. We got a new gymnasium. The building was a two story brick building with a large auditorium.
Q: What was the school's philosophy?
A: Well, We tried to serve a diverse population. We had youngsters who concerned themselves with getting a job, finishing high school, and going right out into the work world. We had distributive education and diversified occupations. We had carpentry and brick-laying. We built a house every year as a project of the carpentry house, and we sold it. These guys won awards almost every year. We turned a lot of people in to the local work force. We had a lot of good programs in business, music, and in athl#tic programs. I expanded the activities. I helped expand the band and all kinds of clubs, the book club, stamp club, etc. I was always organizing extracurricular activities for youngsters to increase their interest relating to the school hoping it would carry over into the academic part.
Q: The population was both rural and city, I gather?
A: Yes, we had about 10,000 in town and we bused from about four or five miles around.
Q: What was your salary?
A: $6600. You would get more for doing bus reports. You got about $20 or $30 for doing the reports on the mileage and keeping up with the salaries for the busdrivers. That job is worth about $7000. In the Eisenhouer years, that was a pretty good salary.
Q: Was it an all white school?
A: Yes, but I had black schools under me when I became district superintendent. I had that school plus about eight or 10 more schools.
Q: As principal, would you say that the only racial contacts your white students might have had was with the cafeteria workers and janitors, or was that not even integrated at all?
A: I guess that's right. However, in my own period of time, when I was at Monroe, I used to scrimmage in football with the black high schools. A lot of people didn't like that. The superintendent talked to me about it once and he told me how excited the others had gotten about it. I didn't think anything of it, but they didn't like that a bit.
Q: What would you say the climate for learning was there? Was higher education stressed?
A: That is what the counselors experienced. It was their duty to give the students information about college and to help them get scholarships. They were successful, so they got a lot of credit for it. When I got there, I assigned one counselor to the freshmen class, one to sophomores, and so forth. I then organized them with occupational days and assigned them to guidance for the future. Probably about 30 percent of the students went on to higher education.
Q: What about public and community relations?
A: I had a radio program every week called ''The Little Red School House" and I entertained questions from people. I received a lot of feedback. The people wanted to know about certain programs and things like that. I have always talked, always spoke, and I was always a member of a city club. There, I was a member of the rotary club.
Q: Were you active with the PTA?
A: Yes, I headed the United Way in that county for a year or two. I brought the North Carolina Symphony into the community. Everywhere I went, I got tennis courts and symphonies. I even took teachers from one community to another if I thought they were good.
Q: In those days, what do you think the teachers expected the principal to be? Was he a disciplinarian or was he an administrator?
A: I think teachers wanted a principal who would back them up and make the climate for learning as good as it could be.
Q: Were unions in force in those days?
A: No. North Carolina unions always had a tough time. In fact, the textile workers union was virtually ruined by a strike in Henderson against the Henderson Cotton Mills. They carried on for about three or four years and it was bad business, but they finally got one of the union men to confess that they were plotting to blow up some key resisters, homes,and so forth. So, they got the treasurer to support those people who were striking. The unions didn't have any footholes in the North Carolina cities.
Q: So, did the teachers basically see the assistant principal as the disciplinarian?
A: Yes. Usually,'the schools would have one assistant principal.
Q: As principal, did you also teach at that school?
A: I taught one year. I wanted to add a senior course in sociology and economics and I taught one section of each of them, each semester, for a year.
Q: Did you do any coaching?
A: No, not at that time.
Q: What techniques did you use to evaluate your teachers?
A: We didn't have anything formal. I visited the classrooms regularly. I tried to be on a basis with the teachers in which they would feel comfortable around me and not get nervous and hysterical when I came into the clssroom. I always used my job to protect the environment. I didn't allow any type of announcements to be brought to classrooms, or anyone to go into the the classroom during the period. We had time for announcements and activities after school and during activity period. We did keep some records on teachers, but it was rather informal.
Q: Did you find that your teachers were fairly dedicated and well trained?
A: Yes, they were well dedicated. We had a different force of teachers when I began teaching. Most of them were single and not looking for marriage. It was these kind of teachers who were really dedicated. Their work was their whole life. As I got toward the end of my public school career, fewer and fewer of these teachers were found. Many of them came from farms, middle, and lower class families. They had basic values in which work ethics were powerful elements. We kept the same teachers year after year. We didn't have too much change.
Q: If you could make a statement on what your leadership philosophy was was in that school with your teachers, what would it be?
A: It would be to try to find something that is suitable for each one of the students as a way to be successful, and to help them hope to be the literate type of person, and make the next step in a career.
Q: What do you think it takes to be an effective principal?
A: It takes a first class education. Most principals don't have that first class education, unfortunately. They come into the principalship,too often, through coaching. Just because he was a pretty good teacher or coach, we can't very well honor him by making him principal. Or, just because he was able to control the boys, doesn't necessarily make him a good disciplinarian. This happened in a lot of schools. We didn't have a lot of schools in the 1940's and 1950's that had 2000 students. If it had 1000 students, it was a big school. Discipline was very important. Thirty years ago, if one could not be controlled, the school board would put them out in a hurry. The climates have changed. People are more sensitive and they don't automatically let you handle children in any fashion. If you disciplined a child then, you would get pproval by most of the community, but if you discipline a child today, there may be a disagreement about it.
Q: So, you didn't face some of the pressures that are being faced today?
A: No, particularly with integration. The major pressures would come from the segment of the community where parents had dropped out of school in the fourth and fifth grade. They didn't understand what we were try#ng to do, like uniforming the students for gym, and making them take showers after physical education. The parents didn't think it should be done that way. They were against some of the things they taught in health that bordered on the knowledge of sex. Also, in Roxboro, some people didn't give a hoot about academics, but they loved the athletics and they had a state champion football team. I had to really oppose them, even though I was a former athlete and interested in sports, to elevate the interest of music. We had great music, with many people in ensembles, glee clubs, and we had a stage of about 100 feet wide. The christmas program would fill the whole thing up. The band suffered, so we had to work on that and other types of academics. The seniors would plan their schedules so that they could finish all their requirements and only have to take one or two subjects in their last year of high school. I had my own school board in Wakeland, and as district principal, I said they couldn't do it that way, and the school board agreed with me. We made them take an extra year of math and science. A lot of people didn't like that, especially the seniors.
Q: How did the teachers handle their greivances in those days?
A: They could come to the school principal, or they could go to the superintendent and the school board.
Q: But they didn't really have a union to go through?
A: No. We once had a rule which stated that a woman could teach until her fourth month of pregnancy. There was a black teacher who was pregnant, so she came to the school board to ask for a continuation of a month or so longer. I think the board gave her a couple of weeks but not much more.
Q: Things were so different from nowadays.
A: We also had a rule which stated that as soon as a student got married, she would drop out of school. There was one girl who was a sophomore and she got married. She petitioned to come back to school and the board decided to let her come back. They told me to talk to her about what her conversations to her friends should be limited to. They didn't want her discussing her adult experiences with her friends. That's like saying don't tell a big secret that everybody's bursting to tell, and everybody's after you to know about.
Q: Did you ever fire a teacher?
A: No. They usually left on their own if they were having problems.
Q: How do you feel we can improve education for teachers?
A: We have to test them. Teachers can only be paid so much, so we can't demand to much from them as a level of entry into the field. Especially since teachers are so much needed, and so important. I do believe that we should give them more in the nature of the tool subjects, so that they can be grounded better in the nature of psychology, measurement, and subject matter. When I came here as dean, I eliminated six hours of education from the elementary major without talking to anybody, and I beefed all the majors. In fact, at one point, I had more hours in the english concentration for education, although the degree was in education, han did the english for the regular major. I had three more hours. I also had Advanced Composition, but of course, I was always interested in the subject matter. If you can make it more competitive, you undoubtedly are going to improve the force somewhat.
Q: Do you remember what the civil rights atmosphere was during your principalship? Did it hve an effect on your job at all?
A: I was frequently invited to the black schools to make talks and the blacks pretty much wanted to run their schools. They didn't want much said by the white people. They were sensitive to the criticism that blacks weren't ultimately capable of being good principals. I liked black people, personally. We had a black man who lived in our basement when I was young. He frequently ate with us. So, my view was a little bit different from others. I'd had more exposure to it. I spoke, and read the works of George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington. I knew their lives well and I frequently had some theme, particularly from Booker T. Washington's life, that I could talk about. They liked that. Of course, the young blacks thought that he was too obsequious in that he said one time that the job of educators in the black world was to make better haulers of water. When the black leader, Dubois, came long he repudiated that as do modern blacks today.
Q: In those days, was there any difference in handling assistant principals as to teachers, or were they more peer oriented?
A: Sometimes, I would assign him a schedule to report to me, such as attendance reports, supervision of organizing schedules for people to be on bus duty, or cafeteria duties, or in the halls, etc. He was usually the person who taught, and had pretty much a full schedule in those days.
Q: As principal, what would you say was your biggest concern?
A: The biggest concern was organizing the most appropriate environment for the learning circumstances, protecting the teachers' time, giving her the equipment and materials that she needed and motivating them to try to work hard with the youngsters.
Q: What was your biggest headache?
A: Probably the youngsters who were just out of control. They did bad things to people they didn't like. There was a problem with a lot of drop outs in the junior high years.
Q: So you had a lot of rough-necks?
A: Discipline was a big job. When I talked to the state superintendent about going to Roxboro, he told me that they very much needed someone with an "iron-hand". My administration was very much characterized by firm, but fair. That was what the southern administration said about me.
Q: Let me jump up to the present and your view of having been a former principal and some things that are going on now. What do you think about career ladders for teachers?
A: I think that its one way to hold teachers in, because too many systems that they have had before have unfortunately and frequently put the more money on the beginning teacher, and let the other teacher with fifteen years of experience go and replace her at a cheaper salary. I think this needs to be corrected. Teachers should have something to look forward to since they've been in for such a long time.
Q: So, what would you say then about merit pay?
A: When I was dean here, Norfolk had extra money designed for that sort of thing. I tried to get them to figure out a way in which they could give it to our cooperating teachers. I never could figure out a way to decide who would be more meritable. I even suggested some compromises, but they weren't ready to let me settle the problem, so what I did was to give as much money as we could here and even before I left the deanship, I recommended that it go up to $200 or $300 each semester that they had some person as a way of recognizing some kind of merit, but in South Carolina, when I first went there, they started using the NTE and the scores were categorized into three groups. The highest score received an A and got more salary for it. The next highest score was a B, and received less salary than the A, but more than the C. The C was the lowest level. That was their merit plan based on the National Teachers Examination in the mid-forties in South Carolina.
Q: What do you think of the ''no pass, no play" rules that are being tossed around?
A: I don't agree with it entirely. Attendance dictates that children go to school. Sometimes, the child enters into sports or something else. That is the thing that gives him schooling. Frequently, there is some kind of standard that is needed, obviously, but tht may be killing any chance tht the youngster is going to some way become interested. There are some people who say that if that is the only thing that is there, then it's not worthwhile, but I think that it could be overdone.
Q: Do you think a school should have a mandatory curriculum?
A: We've always had units that are required. Most of them were considered the basic ones. I don't think they are going to get much out of the extra units that they add. Some youngsters are capable and others probbly could do a little more than they do. Children shouldn't be demanded to fill up all their time until they get to the point where they have very little time to enter some interesting subject. They still should have some of that. I would demand three four years of science and math.
Q: Are you saying that we should get back to adding more additional requirements in the basic courses like science, math, and reading, and let them take additional subjects only after they have taken the hard-core basics?
A: Yes, but I would make a difference between the general student and the college preparator. The college preparator would get about four of a math, and a science, or three of one and one of the other. The general student wouldn't go that much, maybe three years of math and science,
Q: Well, how do you feel about exit testing?
A: It puts pressure on the students and on the teachers. There has been an accusation for years that the results are not valid. For instance, we see evidence on the National Teachers Examination scores are being higher, particularly where they are giving attention to how to take the test. They are not ohly doing that, they are also getting items in one way or another from the testing teacher. If they are not the precise items, they are close to it. Test publication is a very difficult thing. I just did twenty-five questions for the New York Regency, which is to validate teacher training credits and for people to get credits for college. The questions had to be in high artical knowledge and from higher reasoning to basic knowledge and comprehension types to various subject areas. I worked on those for about three or four whole days.
Q: Do you believe that there should be a state lottery for education funds?
A: There are some pitfalls and some problems with it. On the other hand, we've had a lot of people to team up and try to forward the establishment of ABC. It's better to have that money than to have alcoholic control. You are also protecting the public from drinking bad whiskey.
Q: What was the toughest dccision you ever had to make as a principal, and why was it difficult?
A: Decisions about whether to move or not. I also had a question about a graduation of a student.
Q: What was the key to your success as a principal?
A: I got about every high school that I went to accredited by the southern association.
Q: Is there any question that I haven't asked you that you think I should ask you that would give me a little insight as to what being a principal in the 50's was like?
A: Probably what I liked best about it, which was that you basically get the feeling that you have made a contribution when you see youngsters who at one time look like they are failures, and they blossom, bloom, and become graduates and self-supporting citizens. Some of them go on to make some great credit for themselves. I had one student who went on to become a movie star. He started out as a neer do well, although cute kid. There were a lot of others youngsters, too. You shouldn't give up on a student.
Q: Having been a dean of a major university and superintendent of schools, are you glad that you have had the principal experience?
A: I think that it is absolutely necessary if you are going to be the dean of the school of education. I don't think it is ever a good idea to put people in here who haven't been administrators. It is never good for the public, either. When I was the dean, I got all kinds of great cooperation from the superintendent because they knew I'd had some of the experiences that they had, and we were on a talking basis. I served as consultant for most all the school systems in this area at one time or another. The latest thing was the state competency for Virginia Beach. The state utilized their math tests. I was the person who did the projection as to what kind of readiation they were to be faced with, cut-offs, and predicting how many would fail the math tests. I think it is absolutely essential to be a principal first, and probably even a superintendent. The principal is learning how to deal with a lot of different kinds of discipline, ideas, and groups who help them be a cohesive unit to work together. He understands a variety of problems. If a man comes in as a dean and he is limited, like just being a teacher of some kind of subject area, he doesn't really see the big picture.
Q: Well, thank you for your help. It has been wonderful and I don't want to keep you longer and ask you thirty more questions.
A: I might have answered different the next time if I had been prepared on these questions.
Q: It really was interesting to have gotten the information on the 1950's because a lot of this is not recorded information, it's lost information.
| Back to "J" Interviews | Index of Interviews | Protocol | Home |