About

DISCLAIMER

While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.

ABOUT
This blog is about school administration. Not the most exciting topic, but it’s all I’ve got.

Oh yea. And a terribly busy wife who is our Technology Director and has her own business. And a busier 12 year old daughter (soon to be 40). And a dog named Buddy.

It is also about other stuff from time to time. Anything and everything that can happen to a teacher, coach, principal, superintendent, or father.

The blog came about by accident. It was created to get people to visit www.PrincipalsPage.com consistently. Since its creation, much like my career, it has become accidently successful.

How successful? Who knows? But if one person reads it, that is one more than I could have ever imagined.

ME

I am the luckiest person you have never met. In both my personal life and my career.

After graduating from Greenville College, Greenville, Illinois in 1989 with a degree in Business Administration I struggled with finding the right career.

After spending time in sales, including working for an insurance company, I accidently stumbled into education.

It has always struck me as funny that as a kid, I don’t ever recall wanting to be a teacher or work in education. This makes me think people end up in the job that was meant for them.

So for the last 18 years, I have been very fortunate to work in education.

For the first 8 years of my career, I worked as a teacher and a coach. This was an experience I enjoyed thoroughly, but I was given an unexpected opportunity to go into administration 10 years ago.

During the first 4 years I served as a K-12 Principal. In the last 2 of those, I was also given the chance to be an Assistant Superintendent. From there, I’ve spent the last 6 years as a Superintendent.

Presently, I am a Superintendent in Tuscola, Illinois. It is in East Central Illinois. I truly believe I have the best job in school administration.

WHY BLOG?

Why not? It’s 2013.

My attempt with this blog and PrincipalsPage.com is to provide resources for school administrators from around the country at the low, low price of free.

PrincipalsPage.com is a collection of forms, letters, and surveys that have been cataloged so they are available as needed for principals and superintendents.

Being a school administrator is a big job, so I am simply trying to provide a little help. And possibly a little humor, but how little is for you to decide.

I am not qualified to give advice, but I am qualified to share some of the trials and tribulations that administrators go through on a daily basis.

Secondly, the blog itself is also an experiment to see if a superintendent from a small town can hold worldwide discussions on educational issues. I am pretty sure I may be the only one doing this in my odd little way.

I have no English skills or formal training in writing. The proof is in this blog.

Currently, I have no books published, newspaper columns written, or movies in the works. There have been a couple of people foolish enough to put a couple of the blogs in print, which I greatly appreciate (please check out the Qouted/Published tab).

My education consists of a B.S. in Business Administration from Greenville College, Greenville, Illinois.

A teaching certificate in Business and Social Studies, a Master’s in Educational Administration, and a Specialist’s Degree from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. These all say that I am qualified to be a school Superintendent.

What it really means is that I had a lot of college loans.

Along with my 18 years in education, I have also spent 19 years in marriage (seems like more to my wife) and we have unleashed the one child upon the world.

We are hopeful she will grow up and be a positive influence on society, but keep your fingers crossed for us (and society).

WHO READS THIS BLOG?

My best guess, the average reader is a convicted felon who is bored and/or being punished.

However, I do know teachers, coaches, principals, assistant principals, deans, superintendents, college professors, and future school administrators visit the blog from time to time.

Let’s not kid ourselves, I will take whomever I can get.

Please feel free to email me with questions or comments at micsmith@principalspage.com

30 Responses to “About”


  1. Jim Greenwald
    on Mar 27th, 2009
    @ 12:40 pm

    Good afternoon wanting to obtain more information about improving as a principal. Thanks Jim Greenwald Principal Granite CIty ILL. HS


  2. Guy c herrmann
    on Apr 24th, 2009
    @ 9:46 pm

    Join the IASA/AASA. Monthly mag. have great, timely articles


  3. Warren Purdy
    on May 13th, 2009
    @ 6:22 pm

    Hi there – I’m not a convicted felon (yet) but I am a principal of a New Zealand secondary school (NZ is popularly known to be a state of Australia by most Americans) who also has a blogsite (feel free to visit!). I loved reading your thoughts and have added you to my watch list. I am a fair way from retirement but your column rang true for teachers I know. You sound like a kind of young Robert Fulghum actually but the young bald guy of the picture is maybe you and you’d possibly not know of Fulghum. Seek him out – he’s great. Anyway – enjoyed the blog, will keep coming back! Keep at it!

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Warren Purdy, I am glad that you have not yet been convicted.

    I must admit, I do think of New Zealand as the baby brother of Australia.

    Lastly, I was not familiar with Robert Fulghum but I had heard of his book – “All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten”.

    Thanks for the comparison, but I don’t think I am on his level… now or ever.

    And yes, the cartoon me is the spitting image of the real me.


  4. Jenny Luca
    on Jul 31st, 2009
    @ 5:11 am

    Nice to see a Principal blogging. I’ve caught up with a few blogs from Principals this week. I’m a teacher in Australia whose been teaching for 22 years with a stint at Motherhood in between. In fact, that job continues in between work now! It amazes me how quickly the path to high responsibility happens in the States. The process seems longer for teachers here. Not doubting your ability of course; the high engagement factor is apparent in your writing. A very enjoyable read.


  5. Jenny Luca
    on Jul 31st, 2009
    @ 5:14 am

    Correction: wrong use of ‘whose’ in above comment. Should have been who’s! Hate it when I see a mistake after i’ve pressed submit comment.


  6. Gary Lewis
    on Aug 31st, 2009
    @ 6:36 pm

    You are always trying to get ahead some how aren’t you. One day, I am going to turn on the TV and find you talking to Matt Lauer on how you went from being the supt at Oakland to Governor of Illinois.

    Keep up the good work.


  7. Liberty Rose
    on Sep 7th, 2009
    @ 12:52 pm

    After spending 18 years in special education in EBDland and alternative education, I became so overwhelmingly frustrated I have taken a one year leave of absence to obtain my license to become a director of special ed/pupil services. I am blogging about this transition.

    I so enjoy your blog as you seem to be one of the few administrators who did not abandon IQ points and your humor as you became an administrator. I am hoping I can come out the other side of this with those two things in tact myself.

    I am a central Illinois girl at heart…spent many years there, got my ed degree at ISU. I know your territory and I miss it.

    I try not to bash administrators, but in my current situation I am surrounded by short sighted leadership with no vision. Special ed is a complicated department and it is only getting more so. I have two special needs kids myself and I want us to get this right.

    You give me hope.


  8. John Karnes
    on Sep 17th, 2009
    @ 10:09 am

    Great blog! I also use PrincipalsPage.com all the time. Thanks for sharing these resources.


  9. sweatherill
    on Sep 24th, 2009
    @ 10:16 am

    Michael,
    I enjoy what you have started and wonder what legacy it has started. I have a question for you and your readers.

    Do or should Principals have tenure?

    My story http://sweatherill.edublogs.org/


  10. I’m Not Sure I Want to Work for a Magazine That Will Hire Me. | PrincipalsPage The Blog
    on Oct 6th, 2009
    @ 7:01 pm

    [...] About This Blog [...]


  11. Emil
    on Oct 20th, 2009
    @ 7:59 am

    Trust me, I’m neither a convicted felon…nor am I reading out of some form of punishment or boredom. I just happened to stumble across your tweets and blogs and such and found it…well…actually fun!


  12. Hosea
    on Jan 10th, 2010
    @ 9:55 am

    I just couldnt leave your website before saying that I really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors… Will be back often to check up on new stuff you post!


  13. Leoma Cooper
    on Feb 2nd, 2010
    @ 1:50 am

    Great job, if I wasn’t so busy with my school work I would read your entire site. Good work!


  14. Steve Shanks
    on Feb 8th, 2010
    @ 1:15 pm

    I like what you are doing. I also like what you are saying about schools teaching subjects that are traditional but outdated. I’m looking for advice, short of closing the entire school — and firing all teachers and then hiring back good ones and new ones — advice in how to move things along with a veteran and somewhat cynical (towards 21st century stuff) faculty.


  15. Farab
    on May 19th, 2010
    @ 12:09 pm

    Hi there – I’m not a convicted felon (yet) but I am a principal of a New Zealand secondary school (NZ is popularly known to be a state of Australia by most Americans) who also has a blogsite (feel free to visit!). I loved reading your thoughts and have added you to my watch list. I am a fair way from retirement but your column rang true for teachers I know. You sound like a kind of young Robert Fulghum actually but the young bald guy of the picture is maybe you and you’d possibly not know of Fulghum. Seek him out – he’s great. Anyway – enjoyed the blog, will keep coming back! Keep at it!


  16. Joe Cash
    on Jun 30th, 2010
    @ 11:06 am

    Hello, just want to say I have enjoyed my visit to your site, will check out your principal’s page. I am a principal in Southern California, convincing myself that surfing the web and reading educational blogs is actually work, while avoiding other tasks this morning. Well, back to real work.


  17. Wallace
    on Aug 7th, 2010
    @ 10:25 pm

    It seems you have a very popular blog! Congrats! :)

    Have a good school year!


  18. Mervin T.
    on Sep 4th, 2010
    @ 2:07 pm

    I realize this isn’t a very good comment but it makes me smile.

    Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. :)


  19. Jeffrey Leavins
    on Sep 5th, 2010
    @ 6:40 am

    I really like the blog. Thanks for the good read.


  20. Becky Foellmer
    on Nov 29th, 2010
    @ 8:36 am

    So funny to find you through Twitter! My husband coached volleyball at Oakland HS many years ago – almost 30 in fact!! I was teaching, at the time, at Jamaica Jr. High in Sidell! We’re, now, in the Chicago suburbs, both teaching at the jr. high level.
    I am enjoying reading your posts!
    ~ Becky


  21. koreena
    on Mar 15th, 2011
    @ 12:20 pm

    just checking on the spelling of accidently, or is that tweet spell? I thought it should be accidentally.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    Fixed. Thank you.


  22. The Right Reasons | Principal Thoughts
    on Mar 20th, 2011
    @ 1:05 pm

    [...] superintendent Michael Smith’s post this morning called “Dumbest Education Thing Ever.  At Least Since Duck and [...]


  23. Doug Liftwood
    on Jun 5th, 2011
    @ 5:59 am

    I really like your writing style. D


  24. LaTisha D Dawkins
    on Jul 18th, 2011
    @ 12:27 pm

    Good Afternoon!

    I am in the process of completing my Bachelor’s in Business Administration and I realized about (about 6 credits away from graduating Spring 2011 smh…) that I would like to become a teacher. Like you, I didn’t see myself anywhere NEAR the educational field… yet, I have found myself drawn more and more towards making that difference in a child’s life. I stumbled across your blog when I submitted a Google search for What Grade I should teach? lol I love your blog and the comments left by your subscribers!!! I intend to obtain my teaching license prior to completion of my Master’s. I would like to submerge myself in eating, sleeping, living for making a difference in the classroom. I can hardly wait.

    I realize the difference that my teachers (and guidance counselors) had on my life which I now believe is the reason that I want to become a teacher. I visited at least half of the teachers after I graduated and I think that the one of the reasons that some teachers may burn out (other than low pay, parents that don’t care/don’t believe their children are capable of behavior, and my fave (sarcasm) the pressure of Stardardized test) is that they don’t see the difference that they made in a child’s life until later life (5-10 years + down the line). The child returns and catches up with their teacher. The child returns and thanks them for which the teacher may not even remember ;-) and if there ever was a question, it is answered and the joy of teaching becomes much more profound… Or am I naive optimistic individual who hasn’t faced the realities of teaching?? (I hope not!)

    I know that I won’t be able to truly get through to EVERY student in my classroom. I may be lucky if I get through to 2-3 each year. But the ones that I do, I pray that they will come visit me or find me on facebook (or whatever social media site that may be in existence… lol) to let me know I made that difference to them.

    I will definitely subscribe to your blog as it has made a difference with one simple entry.

    Have a blessed day!


  25. Dianne Habluetzel
    on Aug 26th, 2011
    @ 12:35 pm

    Our Superintendent’s secretary told me about your blog…enjoyed it…wish I had a different picture icon…mine looks downright unfriendly…sorry…I’m acutally not in prison (at the moment), although prison is how some of the kiddos think about schools. I’ll check back to read again………our district is trying to get the concept of blogging practiced by more…and slowly we are making progress!


  26. Roselyn
    on Mar 29th, 2012
    @ 1:52 pm

    Hi, so I am currently completing my bachelors in elementary education and I would one day like to become a principal, but what I mostly concerned about is that as an elementary school teacher will I be restricted to just being an elementary school principal. I don’t mind this at all but with the current state of education I want to give my self as many opportunities as possible.


  27. Jason Prater
    on Apr 21st, 2012
    @ 5:40 pm

    Thank you for creating this blog and remaining so faithful with it! Great writing – engaging, fun and insightful.

    Looking forward to much more,
    Jason


  28. Dawn Casey-Rowe
    on Oct 25th, 2012
    @ 8:10 pm

    This is a great blog. I’m curious to see how it’s affected the environment of your school after about a year. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Disclaimer

While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.