July 28, 1988
| Back to "W" Interviews | Index of Interviews | Protocol | Home |
Q: Dwight, why don't we first of all let you introduce yourself and then describe your professional career like your positions and the education you've obtained.
(Streamed audio file of interview for this question using RealPlayer)
A: O.K. My name is Dwight Wederquist. I have been in education, up until three weeks ago, for twenty-three years. I began teaching at the age of 36 in the elementary sixth grade class over at Boulder, taught four years; spent twelve years as an elementary principal in St. Vrain Valley; two years as an assistant junior high principal in a school of approximately 800 students; then three years as an elementary principal; and the last two years as coordinator of an alternative education program which encompassed an alternative high school, an adult education program and a drop-out recovery program.
Q: What was your philosophy for education?
A: I don't have one. One time Dr. Nolte down at D.U. was talking to us and he said a principal is really only advocate the kids have. Teachers have their union, parents have their legitimate power that the law gives them, but the primary purpose of a school principal is to be a kid advocate. It really fit for me and I think that's something I always have been and if I had to choose between kids or parents, or teachers or kids, or sometimes me and kids -- why -- I really have gone for the kid. I think that's why I was as good as I was in alternative education. Pretty much that is my philosophy of education. Education should be life-long. I think sometimes we in the school system are involved with our own importance. Many kids who we label as special ed. or slow learners simply have a different aptitude and many times I told parents that if we can get your kids through twelve grades of school without the system destroying him, he'll probably be pretty successful. Too many people in education have been in education and nothing else. They went through school. They liked it so well that they went on and got a bachelor's degree. They started teaching. They got a masters degree. They really know nothing but education. I think whenever we know just one thing we're inclined to become a little self important. So I guess my, you know getting back to philosophy, education got to be, or we never quit learning. If we quit learning then they really should probably bury us. As an example I am going into mediation now and I just took a course last month on being a mediator. You know we've got to learn forever. Education should have a two fold purpose for the kid. Number one forever. Education should have a two fold purpose for the kid. Number one the kid should learn that it's all right to fail. Teachers need to learn that too. Failure is not wrong unless you quit. A former superintendent or assistant superintendent had a sign that said that the only time it's wrong to fail is the final time. I think that many times through our grading system and all we give kids the impression that they can't fail. I think that's why I had kids so often in alternative ed. They failed and therefore they were not worthwhile. We would`t learn to walk if we hadn't failed. You know how many thousand times do babies fail before they are able to walk? I thin a second thing is real necessary in education is empowerment, teacher empowerment with a student, allowing the student to make choices and to live with those choices, suffering consequences from those choices. And I think again it gets back to that it's o.k. to fail. Too many times we work under the premiss that we have to protect a kid and hover over him. I think we have as many helicopters as teachers as we have helicopter parents. It's got to be o.k. to fail. You've got to have choices. You've got to have the right to make decisions. You can't throw all of that at a kid. You've got to teach them how. When we were in individualized education in the late 70's and everyone was real gung ho on individualization we at Hygiene had a (it was part of the planned program that was very individualized). The kids that were in the program that we taught to make their own schedule, to go their own pace, to be responsible for their learning did real well. Sometimes we'd get kids, especially (it's not a put down to them but) out of the parochial area and God, we scared those kids to death. They had no idea of what making a choice was and after the first two or three fell flat on their face we realized that we had to put them into a special orientation to give them more time, to hand hold, and tell them what to do.
A: I went into education to be a principal. Having farmed for fifteen years I was use to running my own business. I wanted a change of occupations. There had been some things that had happened in my life that made me want to get into one of the helping professions. I really felt that I would be a good principal. Middle level management is pretty much where I've always wanted to be. I never really wanted to be a superintendent. I enjoyed being a principal. I had some good years.
Q: What leadership techniques did you use while creating this climate for learning that you were talking about?
A: Empowerment before I knew what it was. Matt Henlen was just telling me the other day ... he said, "You know one of the other principals in our district one time asked -- How does Wederquist get so much out of his staff? Matt said, and I don't know that he used the word empower ... but ... he allows them to run their own class, in other words, they set goals and then you get there the way that you are best in doing. You know, again, I think it came from my background. I probably was farming 2,000 acres of wheat and 900 head of cattle before I went into education working with 2, 3, or 4 men. You give them a field and say plow it. You wouldn't say do it like this and like this and like this. You say heh i want you to irrigate the field. If they did it fine. If they didn't do it you straightened out what was going wrong and if they couldn't get it right then you had to lecture them or end wrong and if they couldn't get it right then you had to lecture them or end up canning them -- which I missed sometimes in education. But basically people will accomplish about whatever you expect of them. If you don't expect anything of someone you won't get it. If you expect a lot of them you get a lot. So I think empowerment; I think high expectations. I always worked like a dog myself and to be real frank with you if you wanted to get out of there when the kids gout out you found your life pretty unpleasant. I expected my teachers to work hard. I've had them say, "I really enjoy working for you and you do expect an awful lot of us." I think you can expect a lot of people, of kids, of anyone. If you expect it with love you'll get it. Power and love are the two things that the more you give away the more you get.
Q: What do you think teachers expect a principal to be?
A: Good teachers expect a principal to be ... well I think all teachers, some of them resent it but the majority of them expect you to be a leader as opposed to a manager. Their expectations vary according to what you give them. If you're a paper clip counter why they expect you to be a paper clip counter. Again, if you give them a lot of freedom ... I think most teachers at least would like to have you be a decision maker. I think most teachers like to have you involved in most things that are pertinent to them. I think they resent being involved in those things that they don't give a darn about. That's a put down and it's very much of a frustration too. I think a lot of people have screwed up democratic leadership by thinking that they had to take a vote on whether they went to the bathroom or not. On the other hand the big decisions they want to be involved in. And they should be involved in them because when a teacher walks into that classroom the program will be implemented only to the point that they bought into it. So I think a leader as opposed to a manager.
Q: What does it take to be an effective principal?
A: Probably the first thing that gets people into trouble more than anything else ... you've got to have some bastard blood in you. You've got to have empathy, caring, understanding. When push comes to shove though you still have to be able to make that decision and hang with it. Your staff has to know that if the going gets tough you have the balls to back up what you say and to back up them. They've also got to know that if they screw up you'll also back them up but they're going to have some unpleasant times somewhere down the line. You've got to be a good listener. You've got to listen to what they say, what they show. I think that's critical. I think you've got to have time for your staff. Every time I got in trouble with a staff was when I was really busy or didn't have the energy to spend time with the staff. So along those lines you've got to have brains enough to know when to back off when you think you're headed that way, or whatever, and bail out for a day or two. That was one of my weaknesses for years. I would allow myself to get so involved in the process that I wouldn't know when to back off and say heh I need a breather, when to take a sick day. Use to think you should never get sick.
Q: What pressures did you face as a principal?
A: Just about as many as you would want to imagine. It depends a lot on the grade level. I'm one of the few principals around I think that has had K-12 experience. It gives you a little different perspective. At the elementary level your biggest pressure is parental expectations, often times unrealistic ones. Junior high you deal with a lot of pressure with kids involved in peer pressure. In other words, kids is the thing that puts the grey hairs on you in junior high. Senior high, that whole guidance pressure, grade pressure, wanting to get into college. I think your pressures get more parental at elementary and then again at senior high with the main pressure being kids -- you know they're just squirrel brains -- at junior high. And parents don't pressure you so much just to keep that damn kid out of my hair for three years. And then the other pressure is the pressure of a middle manager. Meeting the needs of your staff while at the same time meeting the needs of central office. Whenever you have a turnover in central office you have a new set of expectations which you never know for sure whether they jive with the expectations of the person before. So a lot of time, especially if you're going through turmoil in your central office you will get about a dozen different sacred cows and you can't kill and butcher the old ones ... they just keep going on. There's been times when I've had some pretty severe school board pressure.
Q: What kind of school board pressure?
Q: Relatives of kids in school?
A: Relatives working for me like flies.
A: Daughters. Little goodies like that. Some of them handle it well and some of them can be real bastards.
Q: So, if you had to do it again what would you do to better prepare yourself for a principalship?
A: I don't think you can. I would get a lot more conflict management training, listening training, counseling training. The management part you can learn. It isn't done too badly in preparation. But the listening part and advising, that whole arena in there is probably where people are the weakest. This mediation course I took. If I were a superintendent I would spend time and I would put my entire administrative staff through mediation. The skills they teach there are skills that you probably learn intuitively but I never had them taught. You know we have a lot of decision making but never the conflict management, mediation bent to it and I think that's where the key lies. You've got to be a manager, you've got to be an evaluator. You've got that whole arena. But basically to me one of the hardest things you do is getting people to get along with each other. The teacher who can't get along with kids, the parents, the parent and kid who can't get along, teacher - teacher who can't get along. I think that's one of the big keys.
Q: What role did you play in recruitment and selection of teachers?
A: It's varied over the years. When I first came to St. Vrain there was no personnel department so people would come in for interviews and they'd farm them out to various principals and we would interview them, write it up, make our recommendations, and then all the hiring was done by the assistant superintendent of instruction who would fall back almost entirely on our recommendations. There was a time when we had almost completed autonomy and hired our own people. Then we went through a period when we had a lot more people assigned to us. Sometimes you would even go out on recruiting trips. It was hard to get teachers. So I guess the gamete over 19 years has run from being assigned teachers to when I was at Hygiene there were two different times when we moved into the open space building that I was given the prerogative to transfer anybody out of my building that I didn't want. And when we went into that planned program I was given that prerogative again. Needless to say I had one hell of a good staff. They may have thought too much the way I thought. You know that may have been a disadvantage but that's an opportunity that if you're real lucky you get once in a life time. There was some people who kind of hated me when it was over.
Q: What type or what actions occurred for the orientation of new teachers?
A: During those best years about everybody I had hired I had put through our training program. I was getting most of my people out of C.U. I was bringing them in as sophomores or freshman for observation. They would observe the school. Then they would work as instructional aides clear through the student teaching. I would run probably ten student teachers through that school in a year with a comparable number of people at the other levels. It was back when a lot of people were in education and we were kind of a show school and we had a real good reputation at C.U. and U.N.C. so we were able to pretty much pick and choose. That to me is the best because when they came in they really knew what we expected. If you can't have that I think the probably the simplest and probably one of the most effective is the buddy system. Somebody that will really work with them and help them. I don't think we do a real good job of bringing people into the system because generally we bring them in late August or September and that's when you're so busy you don't have time to spit. I think we need to spend more time with them.
Q: What methods of teacher evaluation did you use and how did you carry this out?
A: Well, I used about everything. The Madeline Hunter Effective Teaching was around and Carol Cummings is probably most in vogue right now. I always had a little trouble with it. I think mainly it got back to the empowerment. We have a lot of individualized instruction in my building all the time. I discouraged, and some of the literature out now says I was wrong, but I really discouraged a lot of lecture. I wanted the kids learning instead of listening. I never could make that damn clinical evaluation fit. I think that's maybe why I retired. i always told my teachers that I'm evaluating you from the time you walk in that door to the time you walk out that door. I evaluate you in the lounge. I evaluate you in the lunchroom. I evaluate you when you walk down the hall. MBWAA, isn't it? Management by walking around. To me ... I know it doesn't hold up in court, I know it doesn't work well when you write those damn evaluations ... but to me that is the best evaluation tool there is. Just keep you eyes open, your ears open, and listen to everything and everybody. I'll be real frank, especially in junior high, I evaluated a lot by the number of kids that were sent to my office. When you've got six teachers out of staff of 44 that are sending you 80% of the kids, you know something ain't working. But probably in terms of formal evaluation the Carol Cummings is the most systematic and probably the best too. Like I said, I've always had trouble with it though. I really have.
Q: So, how do you perceive that this has changed over the years since you first went to be a principal versus lately using the Carol Cummings model?
A: The first year I was a principal I took over as principal -- I was intern for a semester and then I took over as principal the second semester. I had a third year teacher that the principal before me had four buildings with 400 kids. Obviously he didn't do much evaluating or much observing. I knew I had problems the minute I watched her. It was her third year and she was ready to go on tenure. One day she called in a doctor in the area who was a former Nazi and had migrated to this country after World War II and asked him if he had read the Third Reich to his fourth grade kid. That's when I began to see I had a little bit of a problem. This was the week I was to turn in my final evaluation in terms of whether she went on tenure. I called the assistant superintendent and told him about it. He said don't worry about it. He called the lady in and told her that by tomorrow morning she could turn in her resignation or she could be fired. She turned in her resignation. We were all happy. But that was the ball game when I first became principal. As you know now the documentation -- I think it cost us around $90,000 on this last tenure business with documentation. So you've got to do a good job on that now and you should. People have the right. But again, we're dealing with a lot less numbers. The second year I was principal I opened a new school, I had 950 students in Hygiene, Lincoln, Longmont, and Central. you had to evaluate every teacher -- a staff of 44 -- I was opening a new open space school. Hell, you ran them by and you said yeah, I saw you once for fifteen minute. In terms of survival you didn't have time to do anything else. Now we evaluate our tenure people every third year. It's really a lot more realistic expectations. We dealt with a lot of the same thing when I was at Northeast. There were two of us and we had 800 kids and that was the year after the two hispanics had been shot by a cop in Longmont and we were on a bomb on that time. We didn't have a lot of time to spend on classroom observation. So, we are getting a lot more realistic today in what's expected of the building administrator. We're still not there. Industry -- 9 to 12 people -- you're immediately in charge of. We're run anywhere from 20 - 40 people by the time you figure your paraprofessionals.
Q: So, how did you use this information then to work with teachers on evaluations?
A: Every technique. At the end of the evaluation we would sit down and map out next year's goals. I generally ask the teacher to set one and together we would set one or two. These were in areas we decided on every year. I never knew how to avoid it. There's a point you move from building a tenure case or to fire. It's almost as if you turn around and go the other direction. It's when you start writing your memorandums of understanding. It's when you start spelling out who will do this, and this, and this, and this. Prior to the time I tried two things. One was joint setting of goals. Two -- building on strengths, I think so many times we as building managers try to correct the weaknesses. It's sort of like if Reeves would look at his football team and say well Elway has a good arm, excellent passing, but he doesn't do worth a darn at blocking. So I'm going to work on Elway this year and bring his blocking skills up to those of Billy Bryant and some of those people. It's ridiculous. If we build the strengths, work on the strengths. It seems like as you build your strengths the weaknesses will kind of tag along and catch up. I think primarily it's because that teacher is having success. Success never hurt anybody.
Q: How did you handle teacher grievances?
A: Would you believe I never had one?
Q: Oh, is that right? That's great.
A: I don't know. I was a wimp. I was scared of it or something.
Q: I think that's great. How about if they would have a problem, how would they handle that. Would they just come and talk to you?
A: Not always. I think maybe one of my weaknesses was that not everyone was always comfortable talking to me. I never had much time for a whiner. A lot of times I know there would be bitching but it never came to a grievance though. I am thinking back on it either they were darn miserable or somewhere down the line we were able to bring it to a talking point. I wasn't above eating crow if another teacher would say heh, so and so is really put out about some things. Then I call them in and say heh, I hear your ticked. What's the problem? Where'd I screw up? Sometimes putting myself down quite a bit to get them to tell me.
Q: Did you ever have to dismiss a teacher?
A: I dismissed five. None of them were tenured. I never had to go through tenure. I did counsel a couple of tenured teachers into resignations. I never dismissed a teacher that did not come back to me somewhere afterwards and say you know that was the best thing that ever happened to me. We think of dismissal, we think of terminating someone's career as a real disserve to them. But if they are that bad and you can do it in a way that they can accept it and understand it, it's the best thing you can do for them. Because, I can think of nothing that would be worse than working in a job that you were miserable in. Wouldn't that be hell?
Q: I've done it. It is hell. What type of things did you expect teachers to do in the past as compared to recent times. Basically, I guess the question is how did teacher expectations change over the years?
A: I suppose there was a time when I was more of a paper clip counter that I expected more of reports or what have you. I think that's changed with positions too. Probably you won't get as much free time out of teachers as you would fifteen years ago. Part of that is there's not as much excitement and there's not as much money floating around as there was fifteen years ago. You know a few years after old Sputnik went up, education was mighty exciting. You could try anything. You could do anything. You could get money to do it. You could encourage people to do it. They were really exciting times in the teaching professions. I think that Hawthorne effect ... we got a hell of a lot of work out of our teachers for a few years. We could reward them. We could send them off to conventions. We could do things that would generate more then. The union was not as strong at the point. I don't get very enthused about the union simply because I think they are protecting the mediocre and creating hurdles for the master teacher. They are costing the teaching profession a lot of good people.
Q: They're protecting what? Say that again.
A: The mediocre
Q: O.K. What was the second part?
A: They're road-blocking the master teacher.
Q: Like how?
A: Salary. There's no way that you can earn any more that the dudiest dud that could be teaching next to you. There is no way the inventiveness, the creativity, the changing of direction ... the union is scared to death of it. Don't put in those extra hours because I'll be expected to put in those extra hours. Hell, you've been there. You know what I'm talking about.
Q: Describe some of the behaviors of teachers that might have led to a teacher's dismissal. You were talking about you dismissed five people. What were some of the behaviors they were demonstrating? How did you do that?
A: The most blatant, of course, is child abuse. Physical ... we don't have too much physical, but we have a hell of a lot of emotional from teachers. When I would see that, that would be the point when I would really go after somebody. I don't think I ever had anybody that was just morally corrupt. Incompetence. The inability to teach. The inability to control kids. Control is not a good word -- to maintain discipline. If you've got somebody that's just laissez faire in that class and everyone just does their own thing it gets so bad that learning ceases to exist. I had one teacher that that was probably the reason. One wasn't playing with a full deck. She got into some emotional problems that hurt her really bad.
Q: What type of expectations were you required to meet in the past as a principal and how has this changed?
A: Boy, I don't know if it has. A principal has a lot less autonomy today. That's changed too. When I first came into the district everyone was told to do just exactly what you were told to do and you didn't have any autonomy. Then we went through a period of time when you had almost total autonomy. I like the strategic operational planning that we have in our district. In other words, the strategic planning from the top down and the operational being these are our goals -- you get there the best way that you can. Up to a point I like it. I never felt in the last few years that we had the ability to input where the district was going. There was a time when principals really darn near controlled the direction of the district. Today it's controlled, if you want to be real honest, by the accountability committee. This bothers me. It bothers me a lot. I think that professionals should have more say. I think that middle managers should have more say about the direction we go because really they are the people that know what the needs are. We do not have a system where you can input those needs now.
Q: Who creates that?
A: I think it's fairly true in a lot of districts. Part of it is created by the state legislature by saying that the accountability committee is law and the way that the accountability functions is law. The system is designed for, and it should have the ability, for the people to have more input. This is great but let those professionals that are out there on the front line have more input too.
Q: How has the salary structure changed for teachers and for administrators?
A: Very profitable. The first year I taught I was on a part contract -- $3,650.00. The next year I was on a full contract for $5,800.00. Last year I was at $54,000.00. You know I figured when I got to that thousand a month I'd be in hog heaven. You know I think we had more money those first years than we did those last ones.
Q: How do you see this for the future?
A: It will flatten out. School districts are going to have some rough years. You've got your Proposition 12 thinking. We're in a belt tightening time and I don't see where it's going to get any better. Nationally -- our gross national product has bone to heck. I don't want to sound like an old man talking but it really concerns me. I think the salaries will have to say pretty decent but those 7-8% a year raises will be 0-2%, I think.
Q: That's happening back east a lot now.
A: Yes. We may see that public demand that we have some form of a merit system. I don't have any hang ups with that. I never did, I always said that anybody in the school can tell you who the best teachers are anyway. We went on merit system for awhile as administrators. There was a lot of anger. It never bothered me.
Q: This one relates to salaries again too. How have benefits changed for teachers and administrators over the years?
A: I don't think we have any other PERA. As I recall there was no health insurance and certainly no dental or life. So, whatever benefits there are have come about since I've been in the system. I think they're fairly decent now. Administrators, I think have good benefits. We've got full family coverage and family insurance, we've got $150,000.00 life. Not bad benefits at all. Besides when I retired I found out how much it all cost.
Q: What in your opinion are the pros and cons of tenure?
A: Pro is job security. The teacher is a very nervous animal. You know when you look at tenure teachers who are scared of doing things because they're scared they'll get fired which is almost an impossibility I'm not sure those people could function if they didn't have tenure. I really think we've got a lot of relatively, in that particular aspect, a lot of insecure people in the teaching profession. I think that's one of the reasons they went into the teaching profession as opposed to business or the most cut throat professions. So that probably is the biggest plus of tenure -- lowering the anxiety, making it o.k. to take more risks of the teaching staff. The minuses are that we've got a lot of duds in the teaching business. You know when you have to let a third year excellent third year science teacher go because you're RIFed up through all of your non-tenure people and you see some of those free loaders that have been on the staff forever using the same lessons plans they used ten years ago, it makes you angry. It's really a bunch of bullshit to say that the principal ought to be firing them because they don't want to get fired, the district can not afford to go through many tenure dismissal cases. It just plain flat costs too much money.
Q: Where does all that money go anyway? You said, $90,000 earlier.
A: Attorneys. District personnel time.
Q: What roadblocks are present due to tenure regarding your vision for education or philosophy for education?
A: The non-caring teacher who can stay in the classroom would be the biggest roadblock. The second biggest would be the ability to reward the high achiever, the innovator. It would be nice to be able to do more things for that teacher. there are a lot of things you can do but it would be nice to be able to do even more for that person.
Q: In your view, how can we improve education? What's missing?
A: The ability to look at ourselves. I eluded to it when we first started talking. We as educators are inundated with self-importance for ourselves and our programs. To really improve education we've got to look at the needs of the student ... the life time needs of the student. We've got to be willing to meet the needs of the square peg kid. As an alternative principal I would talk to pretty near every kid that dropped out of school. They dropped out of school because nobody out there cared. Nobody listened to them. They didn't belong to anything. they didn't want to be part of a gang, or a jock, or a cheerleaders, or a druggie. They wanted to be themselves. They wanted to be accepted as individuals. I don't think we do a good job of that. I think we're accepting people only as they conform to our own expectations instead of accepting them according to their expectations. We deliberately drive some kids out of school that we need to empower them. We need to let the kids write their own rules, within reason, for their school. They need to run their own school. Let them believe that it is their own school and that it's our school. Accept their needs as well as our needs. Students need to have a lot more say in what goes on in school. They don't sell themselves short. Our drug policy was tougher than the district. Our attendance policy than the district. The kids that dropped out of the regular school and when they came back they made their own rules that were tougher than the rules they said to hell with. Give them a little right to say what they need, give them a little flexibility, give them a little authority. The first grade kid can run their own class. So, I think that's where we're shorting ourselves. We're not giving the kids the ability to do that.
Q: Do you see that starting to happen or not really?
A: If anything it's going the other way. People are so damn worried about kids looking good on the test scores. The ironic thing is that empowering kids that are excited are going to have better test scores. I love the whole conceptual objective and theme of our district. I think that's a big step that we've never taken before. Forget those dates and knowledge. Sure you've got to have knowledge. It's a building block. But for heaven sakes don't make the day that Fort Sumner was fired upon be as important as the emancipation of the negro.
Q: What aspect of your training best prepared you for your principalship?
A: Of my professional training?
Q: Or whatever.
A: The thing that best prepared me for the principalship -- and I don't recommend it -- was the loss of our two kids in a farm accident and the caring and understanding and help that we received from all the people who helped us. I think that made me realize need for empathy in my fellow many and I think that's what made me -- if I was a good principal -- that's what enabled me to be a good principal was to understand and to recognize hurt, that whole aspect of things. Another thing that helped me a bunch was the 15 years that I put into agriculture. the ability to back off from that little neat bundle of education and say hey -- Dwight, says the world won't come to an end tomorrow if a kid didn't get an A in penmanship. He's still a good kid. I think those two things. The ability to empathize. Probably another thing that helped me a bunch -- I don't know if you know Art Partridge. Art always said, "Don't get on the table. Get your idea on the table but don't get on the table yourself." That's important. It becomes personal to the place that you're so emotionally involved that you're not thinking clearly. You can say your in deep shit as an administrator because you're going to have trouble. Professionally, probably that whole Art Partridge philosophy helped me.
Q: What did you have him for? For class?
A: He was my advisor and I had him for school law and one other nuts and bolts administration course.
Q: What advise would you give a person considering an administrative position?
A: DON'T! No, I enjoyed it. Number one, don't expect to be able to do it on the hours you taught. If you expect 50 to 60 hour week, you're kidding yourself about the job. Be willing to realize that there's going to be time when you're not going to be able to see your kids at a baseball game or what have you. To be a top quality administrator you have to pay a pretty heavy price. You need to be aware of that before you get into it. There's time when you have to do things you don't want to do. There's going to be times when you're going to have to compromise your principles. To me those are the hardest times. I don't think anybody has been a principal or any administrator when there hasn't been a time when they haven't had to do some horse trades or something to compromise. You can say this is bottom line only so many times. About three and you're done. So there's times when you have to compromise. the rewards are watching teachers grow, seeing a person who has potential and seeing that potential unfold or develop. It's just as rewarding as to see a kid in a classroom take hold with the exception that you know you're exponentially increasing your value. You save a kid you've saved a person. When you build a good teacher you're influencing 30 - 150 people every year. To me that's a big thing. Don't take yourself too serious. If you can't laugh at life you'd better stay the hell out of it. Being able to laugh at what's happening has saved my life more than any one thing. All those things that kids do, teachers do, parents do ... if you can just set back and look at it and put it in perspective and chuckle about it. I think that's critical to survival. Being able to relax, being able to know when you're stressed and know how to manage your stress other than the kid that comes in a bottle -- the pill bottle or the booze bottle. I've seen good administrators go down the tube because they didn't know how to handle stress.
Q: What have I not asked you that you think is important that I should have asked?
A: I think you pretty well covered everything.
Q: I do appreciate you taking the time. This is great.
| Back to "W" Interviews | Index of Interviews | Protocol | Home |