Interview with Fred D. Thompson


Today is January 17, 1987, and I'm here to interview Mr. Fred Douglas Thompson, Sr., who is a retired elementary school principal from Isle of Wight County. I'm going to ask Mr. Thompson questions that will give us insight regarding his many, many experiences as an administrator in Isle of Wight County.

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Q: Good Morning Mr. Thompson.

A: Good Morning Mrs. Johnson.

Q: I'm very happy to be here and I feel honored to have the opportunity to interview you this morning. The first question that I'd like you to answer is, how many years were you in education; first, as a teacher and then as an administrator?

thompson audio (Streamed audio file of interview for this question using RealPlayer)

A: I started my teaching career in 1954. I was a classroom teacher for 10 years. Then in 1965, I started teaching and serving as assistant principal. I served in that capacity for 5 years, then, I was moved to a high school to serve as assistant principal and I served there for 2 years. Afterward, I was transferred back to an elementary school to serve as principal and I served in that capacity for 9 years. My last 2 years of service was as Director of Services for the Isle of Wight County's School Division.

Q: That really sounded interesting. You really had a variety of experiences. Would you describe for me the type of school that you had last (I think that you were principal of) in Isle of Wight County and would you give us the name of that school too?

A: For 9 years, I served as principal of the Windsor Elementary School in Windsor, Virginia, and which, of course, is in Isle of Wight County. We had grades K through 7 in our school.

Q: How many--approximately how many--teachers did you have and did you have an assistant principal?

A: We had 47 teaching positions not including the administration of the school and the subordinate services. We had one assistant principal.

Q: Why did you decide to become a principal?

A: Well, Mrs. Johnson, there are many factors that helped me in making the decision to become a principal. I can not say that money was not one, because principals were paid a higher salary than a classroom teacher. Another factor is my own make-up. I've always wanted to be a person who makes the decisions rather than just carry them out. I've always wanted to be that person that is giving the most to his community and to the lives of many, many young people and I felt by being a principal I could do much more for the community and especially for the boys and girls that were passing through our school.

Q: That's a beautiful response. What was your school's philosophy and how was it developed?

A: The elementary school philosophy was, I guess as most school's philosophies are, that you want to develop young people who go on and become great young men and women. Now certainly our philosophy was to develop that young person civically to be an outstanding citizen, to want to be an outstanding citizen. But basically with the elementary school we wanted to develop those basic principles and study habits and skills that would aid that person to go on and be successful in high school and then beyond.

Q: Well, Mr. Thompson how did you create a climate for learning and further still what leadership techniques was successful and unsuccessful? And if you like to take that question in parts you may. But first, how did you create a climate for learning in your school?

A: Mrs. Johnson I might inject here also, when you were asking, when we were talking about the philosophy of the school, in developing the school's philosophy the principal is the chairman but his faculty serves as a committee in developing the school's philosophy, so that it will not just be the philosophy of one individual but the philosophy of the school and this, I think, is very, very important. Now, please give me the (second question), the next question again.

Q: How did you create a climate for learning?

A: We created a climate for learning by letting the faculty and the students and parents know how deeply we were concerned with education, with developing the thought pattern for young people. For them to be creative in their thinking, so this is really how and what it's all about.

Q: As a principal, what leadership techniques did you use? Were you dictatorial? Were you humanitarian or just what?

A: There are really two basic forms of leadership: that is power over or power with. I believe I am more of one of those of power with, but peppered with a little bit of power over. Because you have to have that relationship between teacher and principal where you develop things together, that you will not do things to stifler the thought patterns or the initiatives and the desires of teachers and especially young teachers to be creative and to work with new ideas. But yet at the same time the principal has to have the knowledge and the judgment and the experience not to permit people to move out on tangents or out on limbs that you know are going to be cut off. For there is no expectation of growth so you have to tipper your power with and have a little power over at times, but yet be very mindful and thoughtful as you develop these patterns.

Q: What techniques were successful and unsuccessful (and I think you might have already touched upon that)? What techniques were successful and unsuccessful?

A: Now your question of which techniques were successful and which were not. I believe the techniques of rewards of successful techniques but they're techniques you must be very, very careful in handling. You want to reward a person when he or she does a job well, you want to pat them on the back and let them know that they have accomplished or achieved or they are doing the right thing and moving in the right direction. But at the same time you must be careful that your rewards aren't just given too freely because then people say "Oh well, I'll get the reward anyway." Then another technique that you must be very careful in handling and that's the technique of withholding, or sometimes we call correcting, when a member of the faculty fails to do his or her job as a professional should, then you don't punish or don't reprimand the entire staff because of that one person's behavior. This is where you have to deal with the problem in a one to one situation. I've known cases where the entire staff would be punished because of one's behavior and I've always felt that was very, very rude. Now getting back to reward, certainly there are times when you reward a faculty member or a committee for a job well done and the entire faculty shares in that reward and this is fine and you need to do this at time, but when you look at the withholding of a reward then you've got to be very, very careful.

Q: Well, Mr. Thompson what role did you play in public or community relations?

A: Mrs. Johnson the principal is the aura person number one for his school, the parents of the community they look to the principal, the other people who live in the community they look to the principal. The principal must set that pattern. He must set that atmosphere. He must set that tone, even with his dress. He has to dress properly for the proper occasions. He has to be involved with the community, with the industrial aspects of the community, with the church, with all other parts of the community because he must depend upon the community (the community) for its strength and growth of his school and certainly he has to represent that school well at all times. He must be involved, he must know the community, he must know parents, he must know his children, not in the school building but throughout their day. In other words, he is the principal for 24 hours and they are his children for that length of time each day 365 days a year.

Q: Thank you. What do you think teachers expect principals to be?

A: Teachers many times expect principals to be miracle workers. No, in all sincerity teachers do expect principals to be their leaders. They are looking and expecting the principal to be the one to set the tone. They look to the principal to see that their needs are met within the classroom. It may be even the heat or the cooling of that classroom, they still look to the principal for it. They look to the principal to be the person to see that they have the necessary equipment or tools or books or whatever to do a job and, yes, these are his responsibilities. He should see and make every effort to see that his teachers and his students have the supplies and the things that they need for their performance. There are times he needs to serve as the counselor for teachers. Many times teachers too being human, they need someone to be able to confide in even sometimes they can be very personal things but that principal should be there to lend an ear. You know, I can recall that many times teachers come in to talk with me about problems and they would talk on and on and I would bow my head or give a little nod and they'd continue talking. At the end of the conversation they would get up and say thanks so much I enjoyed this or I feel so much better and truly I (hadn't) hadn't said a word just simply gave that listening ear. So sometimes principals have to just do this too. Be that person that people can come to. Many times parents will come in and want to talk about something, the principal has to be that person that the parents can talk with. And certainly above all, even his smallest child, the kindergarten child can have a problem such as the loss of a pencil which to many of us adults would be only a trivial matter, but to that child that lost pencil is a big problem. So the principal has to help him to solve that problem, not necessarily just give him another pencil but help him to find his.

Q: Thank you. How did you evaluate teachers?

A: In our system we have always had an evaluating instrument which came to us from the administrations or the administration of the system but this instrument always had to be tempered by the principal. He had to or I had to develop things that the teachers knew or what and how they would be evaluated. The instrument was one that the teachers were familiar with. They knew at the beginning of their tenure with us what would be expected and how it would be handled, I evaluated teachers on a daily basis because I saw my teachers each day. I would make classroom visits and share with them. They knew that I would be always looking for things that was going to be helpful in reaching our goals with the children, the center of focus.

Q: Well, what techniques did you use to make teachers feel important?

A: Teachers are important. They are the most important parts of the school, excluding of course the students, they are number one. But the teachers have to feel that their roles are important and certainly they are the ones who's dealing daily with the instruction and with the development of the boys and girls that we work with, with our product. They are the ones who turn out the finished product. They must feel, they must feel that their roles are important and that their input is of utmost important. This is the key to make that teacher feel that what (he) he or she has to offer is the best.

Q: What did you do personally to make them, make sure they felt how important they were?

A: I tried each morning to speak to my teachers, to let them see me, to know, to find out from them what their needs were. I'd always have time to listen to or make time to listen and the principal's office was never a closed door. That it was always open, always time for them to come in and to share with me. They may would come up with things that I did not want to accept or that I couldn't see that we could accept it at that time or to put it into a program, but, yet they were never shut out or never cut off.

Q: What is your philosophy of education, your philosophy of teaching and what is your personal leadership philosophy, Mr. Thompson?

A: My philosophy of education is to prepare young people for life, for living and my philosophy here is that they must be exposed to life situations as many as possible so that they can wisely make decisions (of) of choice. It is so important that young people learn to be able to make the decisions of putting first things first. So (this is) this is what it is in a nut shell. Then my philosophy of teaching, I go back to something that I've always believe that a teacher will never teach a child all that he wants him to know but the teacher will certainly teach that child all that he is. And that is a teacher must be one that is concerned and he must go beyond that he must have compassion, he must have love for his profession and love for the product which is the child that he or she is dealing with. And now Mrs. Johnson my personal leadership philosophy is the same as I have stated about the teacher. The principal is certainly going to exemplify, he is going to certain give to his school all that he is, if he believe strongly in something, the school is going to know it. So therefore (he) he must have good strong morals, where he is going and his reason for going there.

Q: Mr. Thompson, what does it take to be an effective principal?

A: To be an effective principal takes good common sense number one, then after that certainly he must know (his) his areas, he must be prepared, one has to spend years in study and preparation to become a principal. (He's) He must have some life experiences, he must have some school experiences to be an effective principal. (I) I certainly know there are some who go right out of graduate school or from college to graduate school into the principalship and some are very effective principals, and my hat's off to them but, (I) I think the majority of principals need to have had certain experiences in the classroom or in other areas before moving into that chosen area of the school or that chosen profession. There is a certain amount of growth that comes from experience and then takes sometimes a few years to gain the wisdom that's needed for that position also.

Q: What pressures did you face as a principal and how did you handle them?

A: You know it is something that many of us enjoy, pressures and pressures bring out the best in us many times. Certainly you have pressures coming (from) from all sides. When I say from all sides, you have pressures from your community, you have pressures from your staff, yes, you have pressures from your students but you have to be able to deal with those pressures and in dealing you make the best decision and yes, sometimes you may blow one, but you make your best decision, stand on it and move on with your goal set. Now, if you make an error, certainly be man or woman enough to correct it. If you need to apologize, don't feel that because you're a principal you can not apologize. Now certainly many times I have had to say I was wrong or I'm sorry, I made a mistake, I blew that one, but at the same time I was saying I won't do it again and I try to grow from those and all of us are going to have to do that.

Q: Thank you. If you had it to do again, what would you do to better prepare yourself for principalship?

A: If I had to do over again, Mrs. Johnson, I guess while in college I would have taken more courses in psychology and maybe public relations in preparing for the principalship. But looking back I think the experiences that I had were certainly jewels working under the principals that I worked under and coming up through the ranks you might say, gave me much that I enjoyed.

Q: Mr. Thompson, how did you handle teacher grievances and did you ever have to fire a teacher, would you discuss the issues surrounding that?

A: Yes, I handled teacher grievances by listening first to what the teacher had to say and if the teacher was valid what he or she had to say was valid then I would go even further and ask the committee to share with me. But certainly there were times, and I'm not proud of it that grievances came up that really weren't grievances, they were more or less rights and those you had to handle or I had to handle and work with those in a different light. Yes, I guess one of the toughest things that a principal has to do is to terminate a teacher but sometimes that has to be done. Everyone who enters the teaching profession will not become a teacher. He or she may have a desire to be a teacher but somehow just never develop into (2nd side of tape) as I was stating, everyone who desires to be a teacher may not develop into one, and this is where the principal (has to make a) has to make a decision. Certainly the decision is made after involving many others. He has done all that he can do to develop this teacher. He has used all the resources available to him and he is not able to develop this individual so he has to make the decision and to terminate, but in (determine in) making this decision in terminating this individual he needs to be fair, honest, and yes, firm.

Q: Did you actual have a case like this and could you discuss the issues surrounding that case?

A: Yes, Mrs. Johnson, I'll (discuss) discuss the issues around one teacher in particular that comes to mind. We had a young lady who came to us as a teacher from college with outstanding credentials. She was an "A" student while in a very fine college, but after working with us for two years and we were doing all we could to develop this person to become a teacher, for some reason, she was never able to reach the level of the children. Her methods of teaching and her teaching was to the point where the children could not grasp what she was trying to get over to them. May be her level was (just) just too high and her expectations of elementary children were just too great. After the working with her and having all of the resource people to share with her, we were not able to reach our goal in developing this individual. So I called her in and we had had several conferences and in the final conference, I explained to her that her job would be terminated but at the same time I gave her other recommendations. I suggested to her that she might consider going into some other profession and as a result she did. She went into a pharmaceutical company and to this present day she is doing an outstanding job and certainly (her) her financial rewards are much greater than those would be in the teaching profession.

Q: Could you tell me how we can improve education and as administrators as well as teachers. In general, how can we improve education.

A: This may sound a little harsh but we can improve education if we as professionals start to policing our own forces. That is that we develop stronger guidelines for one entering the teaching profession and that we set up criteria by which we expect our teachers to be governed or to guidelines for them to work under. I think I stated earlier, everyone can not be a teacher just as everyone can not be a doctor or lawyer. But we as the teaching profession, we are the ones who are going to have to take a strong or closer look at our profession.

Q: How did you handle the civil rights issue, the busing issue and all those things that came along with integration because I am sure your career did span the time when we had complete segregation of school as well as integration. So when the change came about, how did you handle the civil rights issue?

A: Mrs. Johnson, this may sound as though I am trying to avoid telling you something, but this is true. I am color blind when it comes to choosing clothes. My wife has to pick out my clothes. When it comes to individuals I don't look at the color of the individual, I look at the character of the individual. As I have often stated some of my friends live in white houses, framed, some live in brick houses, some live in different houses of different color, but yet they are my friends, and I think with this and people knowing me here in the rural area in which we live they accepted me in the same way. Certainly I can not say that (there's) there are no problems as far as race problems, there has been, there is today and there always will be. But the thing we have to look at in our profession is boys and girls and that's it, and once we do that and we tell ourselves and believe it, then we have the battle won.

Q: Thank you and I'm sure that's the attitude that you took into the civil rights movement and the issues that (arrived) arised as a result of that then I'm sure you were successful. What procedures should be used for a person is selected to become a principal?

A: The procedures that should be used certainly a person should have a broad background in education, not just in one phase of education but in the broad spectrum. The person in most cases and I think I stated earlier, should be one that has had varying experiences of coming through the ranks, that person then in most cases will have a greater focus, be able to see more of what he or she needs to be able to see on the horizon and a broader perspective of the total environment. Then too it is a great asset when one has been exposed to the area or similar areas in which he or she is going to be working.

Q: Do you think perspective principals should be tested in some way, given some (of of) or should he go through some type of an assessment center in which his leadership skills could be tested?

A: Yes he should, (I) It is a too important position for one to go into without having exhibited some qualifications. Blindly you would not want to appoint a person as principal of a school not knowing what that person's philosophy is or not knowing that this person has been exposed to things that will give him a greater chance, but being a successful principal because certainly we have what we call tenure and one has to serve a number of years before receiving this, but to go into the position one can do a lot of damage while yet serving in this capacity, because he touches the lives of too many people for it to be a practice field.

Q: How did you handle your assistant principals?

A: Assistant principals are great assets, but if not handled right can be a great liability. I was very fortunate to have a very fine assistant principal but one that I was able to and did share many things with. For example, prior to a faculty meeting I would always call my assistant principal in and go over my agenda so that the assistant principal knew what was coming forth. In other words, I never like to in anyway keep my assistant principal in the dark on anything. I shared with the assistant and I was very fortunate that my assistant shared with me. But I do know of situations where in this was not the case, and it can be quite a problem (and if this is not) and if it is not good harmony between the principal and the assistant principal then too much time has to be spent by the principal undoing or re-doing duties that the assistant has, and it is also very important that the principal let the assistant principal know what duties and what responsibilities that's expected of the assistant.

Q: As a principal, what was your biggest concern.

A: That's the easiest question I have had for many, many years. Children, my greatest concern, because without the children there is no need for a principal, without the children no need for the teachers, without the children no need for any of our professional expertise or even our school plants, so certainly children number one.

Q: What was your biggest headache?

A: The (biggest) biggest headache was getting the job done. When I say getting the job done and I guess (this is) should be all of our headaches. We are never able to accomplish all that we want to or wish to and we set out the beginning of the year with goals that we want to reach and somehow along the way we're never able to reach them all and I guess that's life and it will always will be. But my greatest (headache) headache as a principal it seems that I was never able to get my children to where I wanted them to be.

Q: What do you think of career ladders for teachers and what about merit pay?

A: Career ladders, I'm 100% in favor of. Nothing beats experience and as a teacher moves in years of teaching and experience then he or she should be rewarded on the ladder. I am certainly not in favor of all teachers receiving the same reward because those could have given and are giving many years to the profession should be moving up the ladder and as they move up then they ought to be rewarded for such. Now when it comes to merit pay, at the present time I am not in favor of and my reasons I guess is because we have not developed an instrument for measurement. When we have an instrument in hand that we can measure for merit pay, then maybe I will be ready then to change my opinion and to be in favor, but at the present time I am not in favor.

Q: What do you think of the Standards of Quality established by the State School Board?

A: The Standards of Quality are fine. Excellent. I do have a problem with the funding. I think if our State School Board is going to establish and they have, and I accept, (they to) they also need to establish proper funding for such because as we know that throughout the State of Virginia each division has its own as far as (coming) when it comes to the amount of money put into education. I think the state need to look at the funding so that all children in the state will have proper funds alotted for their education and to meet these standards and the objectives.

Q: What are the characteristics associated with effective schools?

A: The characteristics associated with effective schools are effective principals, assistant principals, teachers, and parents. When we have these factors all working together and then there is no problem with the product. I've never met a pre-schooler who wasn't anxious to enter school. When you talk with a three year old, he is talking about school and he is anxious for the day when he can enroll and if principals and all others have the same enthusiasm then we have an effective school system or an effective school in that community.

Q: Mr. Thompson, what do you think of the testing procedures that are utilized at the elementary level and in particular your Standardized Tests such as SRA Test?

A: When (you) I think about tests period, I think about something I've said many, many times and that is anything worth teaching is worth testing. Now certainly we need our standardized test at our schools or the elementary level so that we can use this as a measuring tool for measuring our students, but not to let the standardized test be the only measuring instrument. There are so many, many, many more instruments that need to come into play. The teacher's instruments (ah) certainly must be considered because no one knows the child in the classroom as well as the parents and next the teacher so we need the instrument but not that instrument solely.

Q: What was the toughest decision you had to make as a principal and why was it difficult?

A: The toughest (decision) decision I had to make as a principal was to resign as principal and to accept a position within the central office. I had been working with young people for so many years and this was where my first love was but to make that decision to make the change was the toughest I think that I ever had to make.

Q: Were you a manager of a building or an instructional leader?

A: I guess I was both but we had a building engineer who really did an excellent job for taking care of the building. (I) I consider myself as an instructional leader and number one a teacher first of all. I can recall that on many days, especially rainy days, I found my greatest love while serving as a principal was to go into K and first grade rooms to read stories and share with little people my greatest reward.

Q: What was your key to success as a principal, Mr. Thompson? Your key to success as a principal.

A: I guess a quote made by a student once and I heard this, they didn't know I was listening, but some students were discussing me and one student said, "He is hard, he is earnest, but he is also fair."

Q: Excellent. What was your code of ethics as a principal?

A: I guess going back to the Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I guess (that's) that's the greatest code. The greatest of a11.

Q: Thank you. What are your feelings about the responsibility of the principal for identifying and developing future school administrators and how did you go about doing this? What are your feelings about the responsibility of the principal for identifying and developing future school administrators and how do you go about doing this?

A: I think the principal has to keep his eyes open as he evaluates his faculty, as he looks at them and as he gets to know them and pick out and even recommend those people that he sees the leadership roles in, especially young people he needs to keep the administration of the school and that is the superintendent and his staff aware of things that he's observing in young educators, to encourage them to continue their education and to continue their growth and when an opportunity presents itself then be ready to make a recommendation that this young teacher be given the chance to grow and to enter into the administrative areas.

Q: Did you (have) ever have the occasion to tap such leadership ability on your staff and that person go on to become an administrator?

A: Yes, I'm very, very fortunate and I'm very happy to be able to say that our two persons who were on my staff became principals. One is serving as a principal at this present day. I was able to make recommendations to the superintendent about these people, they were moved into assistant principalships and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were excellent candidates for principals.

Q: Did you do anything in particular (on) while they were (on) on your staff to develop their leadership potential?

A: Yes I did. I made assignments that would give them the opportunity to share in and to develop their abilities and at the same time it gave me a chance to evaluate them to see if what I was seeing was really the true picture.

Q: Thank you. Would you describe a typical day that you spent as a principal? So I'd like for you to describe your typical work day and in terms how you spent your time and how did you spend the most of your time?

A: The typical day started around 7:15 in the morning. I would try to be at my school by 7:30. My teachers start coming in around 8 o'clock. I certainly tried wherever possible to greet the teachers in the mornings. I think its something special about meeting and saying Good Morning. I would be in the corridors of the building where I might meet my students as they would arrive off the bus. I would make myself visible throughout the morning until the bell would sound to begin the instructional day. We made our morning announcements in the mornings, before the instructional period and unless an extreme emergency we did not interrupt the school day with the intercom. Now, if there would be an emergency of course, but just to be coming on all during the day giving announcements this we didn't do. But I spent the majority of my time during the school day in the building and in the classrooms whenever possible. I kept most of my what I refer to as routine or busy work for the afternoon. After the school day, that's when I would write letters and do the other office things that I felt that was or which was really a part of my responsibility. Not saying that some days I didn't have to do some office work but whenever possible, I spent the majority of my time of the day of the school hours working with teachers and with boys and girls, and of course, many times with parents, but my routine work I could do better in the afternoons or when the building was quieter. And the day ended or I guess with the nightly news, that's 11 o'clock. But really a principal has a full day. He can't say, Well, I will work six hours, or ten hours. No, he has to work the number of hours required of him and sometimes they may be sixteen to eighteen hours in that day.

Q: (Tape 2) 1987 and I am interviewing Mr. Fred Douglas Thompson, Sr., who is a retired elementary school principal from Isle of Wight County. Mr. Thompson was an elementary principal in Isle of Wight County for 9 years. This particular project is for Dr. Patrick Carlton's Theories of Administration class. I'm here with Mr. Thompson and of course (we're going) we intend to have a very informative interview that will reflect on his experiences as an educator and particular as a principal. I might add that this is the completion of an interview already begun on Tape 1 so we will be completing our interview (session) session at this time. So we will begin this portion of the interview with a question to Mr. Thompson. How do you account for your success as an administrator?

A: Mrs. Johnson, first, I thank God for giving me so many blessings and so many opportunities then secondly, I thank the community for accepting me as a principal, then I am so grateful that I have so many good teachers to share and to work with me. I'm so grateful also to so many parents and above all to so many wonderful boys and girls. Without the support of these people and certainly (without) without God's great grace none of these things would have been possible and (as) as I look back and think about the days that we shared as principal. I wouldn't trade anything for them.

Q: Beautiful. What caused you to choose retirement when you did?

A: Mrs. Johnson, this is a part I really don't like to talk about. But my health caused me to have to choose retirement. I got to the point where physically I just wasn't able to, though my mind and heart was still in it, it takes a physical body to transport you from place to place and you and age and pains are things that you, that one can not get around. But I am so grateful that I had the opportunities to do some of the things that I now can look back with fond memories and remember forever.

Q: Well, Mr. Thompson this has been a very fruitful interview and it has certainly helped to enlighten me and broaden my perspective on the principalship. I needed this experience as this is (my) only my second year into the principalship and your wisdom has certainly refined and encouraged me today. I have one last question and that is what have I not asked you that I should have asked you?

A: I can think of two things. One, you never asked my age and I guess it is best that you didn't. You didn't ask me the number of children I had and I guess it's best that you didn't. Because as I look back over life I have taught many, many children. Some are now doctors, some are lawyers, some are teachers and yes, some are not doing the things that I'd wanted them to do but, yet, they are still all my children. And I think (if) if it was someway that I could see them all at one time in one hugh stadium it would be so great, but that's not to be. But as I look about the community in which I live I do see the results of the struggles that we had as principal and as teachers and I think the greatest reward that any man or woman can have in life is that of a teacher and thank you so much for letting me be a part of this.

Q: Before you go, as you were talking, something suddenly struck me and I feel that this question would have been very important and I really would like your input on this. What was the effect of your family on your job as an administrator? What place did your family have in your responsibilities in your personal feelings regarding your being an administrator?

A: Mrs. Johnson, I have a wife who has always for many years has always shared with me and has always been that person that I could come home to and this has meant so much in life. I have two sons and one daughter of my own personal family and from birth they knew that being a teacher and being in education was my life and they knew that I enjoyed it and somehow they too helped me to do the things that I wanted to do. There were many times that they had to make sacrifices because I needed to be at a meeting when maybe I should have been home. The many hours that I spent in services that maybe should have been theirs but somehow they understood and they were willing to make sacrifices. I think of my two boys that many times that maybe we should had been fishing but I had to attend a conference, but they turned out to be pretty good fishermen. But overall ones family is really the key and he (can never) one can never praise or give too many thanks to a wonderful wife to wonderful children.

Q: Thank you. This completes our interview with Mr. Fred Douglas Thompson, retired principal from Isle of Wight County. This information has been certainly fruitful and I am in hopes that it will help others as much as it has helped me in my professional development. Thank you again Mr. Thompson.

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