The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

Life as an Educator:

Becoming a teacher has been a dream of mine since I was 10 years old.  I have been a Youth Coach & Camp Director, Physical Education teacher, Wellness Coordinator, Adjustment Counselor, Athletic Director, Head High School Football Coach, Assistant Principal and as of four weeks ago, the Principal of Normandin Middle School in New Bedford, Massachusetts.  Each and every one of these jobs has been my favorite!  
A New Beginning:
My first week as principal has been exciting, challenging and fulfilling.  I was exhausted by noon of the first day :)  I have learned a great deal from the many outstanding leaders I was fortunate enough to have worked with in my career.  I also benefitted from collective knowledge I found on twitter through my Professional Learning Network (PLN).  Several connected principals on twitter have written about being visible in their schools through "no office" days.  I was motivated to try this after reading about the experiences of principals I respect greatly @Dwight_Carter No Office Day@mdmcneff Mr. McNeff's No Office Day, and@L_Hilt Be There.  I am a firm believer that the key to success as a leader is building trusting relationships.  You can't build relationships if you don't get out of your office.  My goal was to use the "No Office" day philosophy and extend it to include the entire first week of school.  Paperwork and correspondence was done before and after school.  I placed my desk in the main foyer of the school with a note that told visitors that if I'm not at my desk, I'd be everywhere and anywhere meeting our school family....and that's exactly what I did.
My desk in the main foyer of our school
Relationships are Built 1 Person at a Time:
I gave our 1st Friday Focus (an idea I borrowed from @ToddWhitaker Todd's Page) to all our faculty and staff - personally handing it to all of our bus & van drivers.  I was pleasantly surprised when one of our drivers posted the following on our blogNormandin Middle School Blog :

I had the pleasure of meeting you this afternoon while waiting for students to be dismissed for the day.  I drive a van for Tremblays and wanted again to Thank You for coming out to introduce yourself and thank us the drivers and monitors for being part of your team, it was really a very nice gesture on your part and I wanted to make sure you realize how appreciated it was, Thank you.  Welcome to New Bedford Public Schools and best wishes as you begin this journey.  May I ask if it would be possible to get the weekly newsletter that you handed us today?  It's great to have an idea on what's happening in the students school day. 

Ron Ouellet

Thank you Mr. Ouellett.  Yes, each of our great drivers & monitors will receive a weekly copy of our Friday Focus!
What I Learned from Getting Out of My Office:
**I placed the following list in our Friday Focus**
 Normandin’s 1st week....BY THE #’s

100+    Faculty & staff who have committed to making our school Great! 
         Administrative assistants who welcomed the masses
7          Custodians who make our school look like a home J

1             Engineer who can fix anything!
3          Of the hardest working & dedicated AP’s I’ve met
2          School Nurses who nurture our students & donated their file cabinet=team players!
6          Cafeteria Staff who serve 1K hungry mouths with a smile J
1000+  Students: hungry to learn & grow as part of the Normandin family 
15+      Bus & van drivers, who transport our kids SAFELY
1          Cool, Calm & Collected Resource Officer
1          Diligent & Caring Attendance Officer
3          Outstanding Support Systems: Citizen Schools, Gear up & Child & Family Services
2          New Babies!
         New Marriage!
1          Proud Principal! 
It's People Not Programs:
"It's people, not programs" is one of my favorite phrases coined by educational icon @ToddWhitaker.  By spending my entire first week out of my office, I was able to begin the worthwhile process of getting to know our parents, guardians, faculty, staff & students.  This time allowed me to have discussions with people about what is important to them and what they are passionate about.  I highly recommend all administrators trying a "No Office" day or week.....the paperwork can wait!

Views: 202


You need to be a member of The Educator's PLN to add comments!

Join The Educator's PLN


Thomas Whitby created this Ning Network.

Latest Activity

Profile IconJohn Bowden, Randy Tipton, janice antoine and 2 more joined The Educator's PLN
Jose Hodge posted a blog post


College dorms are a great place to make friends, find classmates and enjoy college more closely. But which one to choose? This is often the big question for those who have to travel miles away from home to attend college the next year. This is the current situation of approximately 200,000 students, so it is very important to know all the details. In this case, we give you some advice so you can choose the best place without dying in the process and having a great time. Take notes!Find the best…See More
Nancy Carolina Mendez Melo updated their profile
Thomas Whitby's video was featured

Community for Creativity, Fayette County Public Schools

Learn about the Community for Creativity 2018- 2019 pilot program for Fayette County Public Schools through this video collaboratively produced by the studen...
Nov 7
Thomas Whitby posted a video

Community for Creativity, Fayette County Public Schools

Learn about the Community for Creativity 2018- 2019 pilot program for Fayette County Public Schools through this video collaboratively produced by the studen...
Nov 7
andy mellor posted a blog post

Taking control, taking ownership and stepping up!

For some time now I have believed very strongly that the profession should help to regulate and support itself.On Friday Dame Alison Peacock from the Chartered College, Sir Kevan Collins from EEF and I presented to 50+ school leaders in the North West on a vision for more autonomy for schools and more self regulation.I covered the outcome of the NAHT Accountability Commission which talks about school leaders stepping up and taking responsibility for themselves and their peers as quite simply,…See More
Nov 7
Profile IconJinny Christiansen, Tulia and Erin Magagna joined The Educator's PLN
Nov 7

© 2018   Created by Thomas Whitby.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service