AASA Connect.

More free publicity.dandomench

PrincipalsPage is one of five blogs currently being featured on AASA Connect, a new microsite from AASA designed to celebrate success in public schools
and serve as an interactive professional resource for superintendents (I stole this sentence from the email they sent me).

They intend to rotate a different set of member superintendent bloggers every four to six weeks through the site (this sentence… also stolen).

Beginning in January, be sure to watch for print excerpts from member blogs in their new “Best of the Blogs” section of The School Administrator (again… stolen).

AASA Connect also includes a list of links to superintendent blogs (stolen… but I could have written this one).

Beginning in January, be sure to watch for print excerpts from member blogs in the new “Best of the Blogs” section of The School Administrator (caught me… stolen).

Thank you AASA.  And thank you for writing this blog for me.

One of my claims to fame is I sat next to AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech on a flight from Miami to Atlanta.  He was very tolerant of me.

Maybe if he Googles himself, he will see this picture.

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NASSP Principal Leadership Magazine: Everyone I Know is Getting Older.

Another month.naasp

Another column (it’s not really a column, but I don’t know what to call it).

This one is me complaining about everyone around me getting older (page 6).

It’s weird.

And yet, I never age.

Even weirder.

If you are a new or aspiring school administrator  you need professional development (as do I).

My suggestion is you read the one magazine in which I have a column.

NASSP’s Principal Leadership. 

My favorite part is they have a digital edition.

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Raising Students and My Kid.

Being a school administrator isn’t easy.

From the kindergarten student who cries for no apparent reason to the odd smell emanating from the boys’ locker room, each day brings new and sometimes gross challenges (on behalf of the 1980’s, I want to say we don’t use the word “gross” often enough anymore).

Now, I’m not complaining (maybe a little about that smell…), because I realize every profession has its ups and down.

I was reading online (so you know it’s true) that only 45% of people are satisfied with their jobs.  That’s down from 61% in 1987.Fork

I don’t know if I believe this or not.

What I do believe is 55% of people (at least) like to complain.

About their jobs.

And bosses.

And paychecks.

And lack of benefits.

And everything else in their lives.

I think this is human nature.

Me?  I like having a job.  Any job.

I prefer ones that pay well, but I’ve also enjoyed my jobs that didn’t.

I would definitely count myself in the group of 45% who are satisfied.

But I do have one complaint.

There’s not always enough time to do my job at school, my job at home, and accomplish other things.

This week I had a choice.  Help build a school in the Dominican Republic or coach the Evil Spawn’s basketball team.

Seems like an easy choice.

Build the school.  Make the world a better place.

It’s a no brainer.

Especially if you’ve seen the Evil Spawn miss a layup (she’s killing me!).

Except for the fact I always wonder if I’m spending too much time helping raise other people’s kids and not enough time on my own.

I’m guessing if you ask the evil one, she would say  a break from me would be a wonderful thing (in fact, she’s mentioned this a time or two… or 957).

But I still wonder, so I passed on the construction project (I hope I get another chance).

The building a school/basketball games is an extreme example, but I think all educators are faced with similar decisions on a daily basis.

How do you balance raising your kid and still be totally committed to helping other people raise theirs?

Maybe I shouldn’t worry about this.  Maybe I should focus on what I can control.  Like that smell.  It’s a combination of feet, old yogurt, and cat food.  It’s really quite disturbing.

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600 Subscribers. 200,000 Visits This Year.

TMuch to my dismay, this blog continues to grow.

And grow.

It now has over 600 subscribers.

It will also have close to 200,000 visitors this calendar year.

These really bored people will visit close to 275,000 pages of mediocre to inept blog entries.

Who knew there was such an audience for matters dealing with education, the Evil Spawn, and Buddy the Dog?

Who knew there were so many people who had so much free time?

Now, if I could just convince each visitor to pay me a dollar a visit, I could retire.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

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Penn State Failed. Allegedly.

What happened at Penn State is horrific.crying-nittany-lion

The victims, families, coaches, players, students, professors, and good people of Happy Valley will never be the same.

Especially after the hundreds of hours of trials we are all about to watch (this may make the OJ case look tame).

But there is something we can all learn from this tragedy (way too little… way too late).

We all think we know what good looks like.

We think we know what evil looks like.

The truth is we don’t.

Heroes and villains are very cut and dry when you are a kid.

Or at least they should be.

The white hats are good.

The black hats are bad.

But as we get older this gets blurry.

It turns out the world is way more gray than black and white.

This is okay for adults, but not for kids.

This is where the leaders of Penn State failed.

I’m sorry, allegedly failed.

If you work at a school, you have one obligation above and beyond your day-to-day job.

You aren’t there just to teach.  Or coach.  Or look after the finances.

There’s one job.

And one job only.

To keep children safe.

Everything else is extra.

Penn State failed in this regard.


They began to think their job was to have a successful football team.

And market a safe university.

And keep alumni happy and proud.

They forget their real job.

The safety of children.

At least they allegedly forgot.

There is a reason we are Mandated Reporters and not Suggested Reporters.  I also wonder how much Penn State will have to pay before this is over.  $50 million?  $100 million?  More?

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Are You Thankful?

The Evil Spawn is.

She has a list of 25 items for which she is thankful.

I’m happy to say I made the list.what are you thankful for

Right underneath…


Buddy the Dog.

Food.  Water.  Air (the girl has her priorities).



Her teacher.

Coats (?).



Softball and basketball.


Beagles (evidently, not covered under the categories of “Dogs” or “Buddy the Dog”).

Pokeman (it’s a phase I won’t miss).

Earth (fair enough).


Flip-flop socks. (What are those?)

Color (?).




And the woman who answers questions on my iPhone, Siri.

And finally, last but not least, her dad.

I guess I should be thankful I made the top 25.

It would have been discouraging if I got bumped out by “Coats”.

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Christmas is Coming.

I’m guessing at least one staff member in your school has already begun the Christmas vacation countdown.


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NASSP Principal Leadership Magazine: Why Hiring Makes Me Nervous.


My article from the November edition.

Hiring teachers makes me nervous.

As does:


Hotel beds (germ central).

Fast food drive-thru’s (they always rip you off).


School water fountains (germ central… kid style).

Mean 2nd graders.

And doctor’s exams as soon as I reached 40.

Enjoy the digital version of the magazine.  I certainly do.

If you enjoy the magazine, please let me know. micsmith@principalspage.com

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The Secret to Being a Great Principal.

A long long time ago in a school district far far away I was a teacher.Business question

It was so long ago the Evil Spawn wasn’t even around to mock me (I can hardly remember my pre-Evil Spawn life).

As a teacher, I spent a lot of time watching principals interact in their environment (sort of like the monkeys at the zoo… I kid because I care).

Meetings, supervising games, getting yelled at by parents who hated school when they attended, etc.

What I discovered was the secret to being a successful school administrator.

Actually, it’s not really a secret. 

But when you call something a secret, people seem to want to pay you a pretty penny to stand up and explain it (so it’s a secret… and call me).

For this special one-time offer, I’m going to share it for free (I’m an idiot… nothing should be free).

The secret came to me over 10 years ago.

That particular day seemed like any other.

I taught my classes.  Looked forward to lunch.  Waited for practice to begin.

And hung around the office bothering people who actually worked for a living (sorry, secretaries).

On that day, you won’t believe who walked into the office.

The superintendent.

Some of you might be thinking it was mid-morning and he was just showing up for work, but I’m not going there.

I will say it was his 2nd year on the job.

Also, in the office was a high school senior.

When the superintendent walked through and closed the door to his office, the senior turned to a group of us and said “ Who’s the new guy?”.

Again, this was his second year on the job.

And the senior wasn’t kidding.

He had never seen him.

This is both sad and tragic (which is how I like my stories).

At that very moment, I was both doubled over with laughter and the keeper of the secret.

The secret to being a successful school administrator is walking around.

In the hallways.  In classrooms.  At games.

Even around town.

People want to see you.

They assume when you’re out and about, you are working.

They also assume when they don’t see you, you’re not working.

So take a walk.

You don’t want to be the “new guy or girl”.

Especially in your second year.

Even sadder… the district only had 50 employees.  At some point, the two stars of the story probably should have bumped into one another.

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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.