Where Have I Been?

I can tell you this, I haven’t been blogging.Buddy the Dog.


I was hacked.  Not mad, hacked.

As in my blog was hacked (I think you probably get it by now).

Fixing something like this took me longer than I imagined.

So, since January 21, I haven’t written a thing.  Other than about a bazillion Twitter tweets.

And I launched my own website at www.michaelsmithsupt.com.

And lucky for me, school seems to keep me busy.

The break from blogging was good.  I must admit, not having to come up with the next topic has been kind of nice.

Although, I have felt a little guitly.  I never wanted to become the person who just stops blogging without an explanation.

So during my time off I’ve tried to stay productive.  I’ve updated the cartoon on the blog (actually, I have people for this). 

The Evil Spawn and Buddy the Dog continue to grow up right before my eyes.

Weirdly, my wife and I never age.  Not sure how that works, but I know if you pay your cartoon guy enough everything seems to fall into place.

So I’m back.  Hopefully, with interesting stories about my school year, family, and soon the highlights of my trip to Washington D.C. (Thank you Discovery Education).

I do appreciate all of the people who continued to check in and read the blog even without anything new.

I question your taste in blogs, but I do thank you.

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Facebook Me.

Join me: Michael Smith, PrincipalsPage, Tuscola, Illinois

PrincipalsPage's Facebook.

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AASA Connect. Read Their Blogs. And Mine.

The American Association of School Administrators is currently featuring PrincipalsPage.com on their blog page.AASA - A Great Organization.

Their website is designed to celebrate success in public schools and serve as an interactive professional resource for superintendents.

As luck would have it, I like celebrations, success in public schools, and being an interactive professional resource.

Thank you AASA.  And keep up the good work.

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700 Subscribers.

It’s official.That's a Lot of People.

The PrincipalsPage.com Blog now has 700 subscribers.

This, along with close to 600,000 visitors and a 800,000 pageviews since April of 2009, makes me realize I’ve disappointed a lot of people in that time.

I’m sorry.

And thank you.

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Superintendent Fired for Blogging.

Time once again to open the PrincipalsPage Mailbag.

This question comes from a reader (as most of them do).

“Before I jump in and start writing, I just want to know if blogging has affected you or your career in any negative way. I am afraid, scared even, that I will start blogging (though I won’t be negative or bash my district or job) and something I said will be used against me and hurt me and my future career?”

Good question.

Now please keep in mind I’m no lawyer.  But I do have a thought (maybe even a coherent one). Get Out!!!

Blogs aren’t felonies.

There is no crime in writing or sharing your opinion.

This is 2011, not 1611 (that’s when you would have been considered a witch for blogging).

Now could you get fired or your career be negatively affected?  Sure.

Especially if you do or write something stupid.

But you could get fired if the majority of the school board doesn’t like your ties (or for the ladies… shoes).

You could get fired for just about anything (some of which may be well-deserved… since I’ve never actually met you).

It could happen.

I could write something so heinous that I lose my job.

Anything could happen.

I could win the lottery (keep a good thought for me).

Buddy the Dog could get off his big beagle behind and do something productive, but that’s probably not going to happen.

The Evil Spawn could make it through her teenage years without rolling her eyes or begging me not to do something embarrassing in front of her friends.

And that’s definitely not happening.

I am so embarrassing her every chance I get (more on that later).

I only have one rule about blogging.

Don’t write anything you wouldn’t say out loud in the middle of a crowded hallway in front of students, teachers, and parents.

If you do that, you probably won’t get fired.


Again, I’m no lawyer.

For me, blogging has been a blessing.  It’s given me opportunities I couldn’t have imagined.

I’ve met people and attended conferences where I’ve learned things that have not only helped me, but have also helped my school district.

Blogging has allowed me to get out from behind my desk and escape the four walls of my school building.

It’s made the world a little bit smaller.

And most importantly, I’ve come to love the following 3 words.

All expenses paid (keep those freebies coming!!!).

So my advice:  blog.

Just use good judgment, because people will be watching.

And hopefully reading.

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Time to Get Things Off My Desk. And Chest.

It’s summertime.

This means two things. 

The first is I finally have time to clean off my desk (I couldn’t find a paperclip all year and now I stumble across 1,714 in one drawer… who knew?).

Not Really My Desk.  It's From CartoonCrunch.com.

Secondly, I find during the summer people continue to read this blog, but the number of comments go way down (yes, I’m trolling for more comments… I have little or no pride and apparently a great deal of free time).

The lack of comments could be a sign that the quality of my blog material isn’t as strong during the summer.

Or as I like to believe, readers are just way too busy (vacations, yard work, completing court-ordered community service, etc.)

Either way, I thought this would be a good opportunity to write(?) about a few of my half-baked theories that may not qualify for a full-blog.

So here are 10 possibly comment worthy theories of mine.


1.  World Cup soccer is the equivalent of ice skating in the Winter Olympics.

I’ll watch because I take great pride in pummeling less fortunate countries, but in two weeks I won’t be able to name one athlete who participated.

News to soccer lovers:  It still isn’t sweeping the country.  And it never will (although who knows, because I did think horse racing and boxing were here to stay…).

Little kids like soccer because it’s easy to understand (and pretty much every 6 year old likes to kick a ball and eat snacks after the game).

The rest of us don’t love it because you aren’t allowed to use your hands.

Americans like sports we invented.  And we only invent sports if we can use our hands.

I wish it was more complicated, but sadly it isn’t.


2.  There are way way too many loud blowhard white guys on cable news.  The loud I can mute, but is it too much to ask that we diversify a little bit? 

It is 2010 after all.

There has to be at least one obnoxious overweight Hispanic guy/gal out there somewhere who wants to complain about government.


3.  President Obama misjudged the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Turns out it’s kind of a big deal.

People are either incredibly angry or sad for those people/communities directly affected (and maybe more so for the birds covered in oil).

He’s not gaining many votes this summer.

He’s becoming the neighbor who leaves their trash cans in the front yard six days after the garbage has been picked up.

Not a big deal to them, but a huge deal to everyone else (yes, I just compared a massive oil spill to my neighbor’s trash… sorry about that).


4.  Twitter is great.

It’s also causing people to be less productive at work.

My estimate is employees are costing their companies $4.3 trillion dollars each year by Tweeting when they should be working.

But that’s just a guess.

It could be more (feel free to follow me on Twitter… @principalspage).


5.  Tony Hayward (head of BP) and General McChrystal (head of Afghanistan) are on my short list for Idiot of the Year (lucky for them we have a lot more year left).

Both should speak less.

Much less.


6.  My desk is like my dorm room in college.  It’s a magnet for crap I think I’ll need later, but as it turns out, it’s just crap.

I’m making a personal plea on behalf of everyone who holds a meeting or a convention.

Stop giving us free stuff.

We can’t handle it.

And we definitely can’t throw it away.


7.  As I get older (and older) winter is too cold and summer is too hot.

I have no point here, I just want to go on the record that I’m seldom happy with the weather.

No matter how bad my day, I always look forward to watching the weatherperson with contempt.


8. My daughter (the Evil Spawn) wants to be older.  I want her age to be frozen in time.

This is no doubt the first of 19,767 arguments we will have between now and her 18th birthday (again, could be more… I’m just guestimating).


9.  Education is changing.  Fast.

And the worst part is most teachers/administrators have no idea.

In 5 years most of us won’t recognize schools, curriculum, evaluations, or the technology advances.

My only hope is all of this makes education better.

But with the government involved, it’s 50/50 (but then again, isn’t everything).


10.  Buddy the Dog sleeps a lot.

And by a lot I mean at least 20 hours a day.

He only awakens to eat, roll over so we can scratch his big hairy gut, bark at big trucks (garbage, FedEx, UPS, busses, etc.), wander aimlessly around the yard, and use the bathroom (also aSeriously.... Why Did You Wake Me Up? lot… and I know because I mow).

His life is exactly how I envision my retirement years (I especially look forward to the belly scratching).


Feel free to comment. 

More importantly, enjoy your summer (it’s going fast).

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PrincipalsPage Thinks This is Funny.

Graduation brings many gifts (the end of school, luggage, and cash to name a few).

The grandest of them all is the fact that I can blog about my experiences with the graduating Senior Class.

As soon as they received their diploma, I’m free (as are they).

Don (if in fact that is Don...).

I’m no longer under any sort of moral contractual agreement not to embarrass them on the world wide web.

Not that they would ever read this drivel, but you never know.

From each class, I learn many lessons.

As I see them grow from snot-nosed kindergarteners to snot-nosed teenagers it is hard not to take something away from our time together.

A recent class (I don’t want to be too specific on the year just in case one of them gets a law degree… or owns a gun) taught me an invaluable lesson during a teacher’s evaluation.

As I watched the teacher work her magic, I noticed one young man paying extra special attention.

His name is Don (not really… the PrincipalsPage Legal Department advised me to change his name… or maybe I’m using his real name just to confuse you…).

He was hanging on every word the teacher said.

Each time a question was asked, his hand quickly went up to answer.

Don(?) seemed disappointed when the teacher called on other students.

This happened about four times before he finally got a chance to participate.

He could hardly contain his excitement.

The answer almost flew right out of his mouth.

Then something odd happened.

He answered the question by going 3rd person.

He said “Don thinks the answer is an adverb.”


The answer was correct, but who goes 3rd person right in the middle of class?

Even weirder it was like no one noticed but me.  The teacher and the students never cracked a smile.

No one even acknowledged it.

During the rest of the evaluation this was all I could think about.

High school boy goes 3rd person for no apparent reason in English.

A couple of days later I was walking by this class, so I decided to drop in and get to the bottom of what happened.

I asked the teacher if she had noticed Don going 3rd person during her evaluation.

She said she hadn’t, but by the rest of the class’s laughter I could tell they did (by the way, compliments to them for not making a big deal of it during the evaluation).

So I asked Don (if in fact this is his real name) why he answered the adverb question in 3rd person.

After a long thoughtful and completely respectful pause he said…

…“Don doesn’t know why Don answered in 3rd person".

Fair enough.

The lesson here is don’t go 3rd person.  Ever.

I’m not sure why, just don’t.

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If Nominated, I Will Not Serve… or Will I?

Don't Trust People Who Aren't Smart Enough Not Run to For Office.The following video was sent to me by a loyal reader. It is an example of both the desperate need our country has for leadership and the fact that people who read blogs have way too much free time.


After much consideration (at least 4 seconds), I have decided not to run for President, or any public office (at this time).

My decision essentially boils down to this.

It is too hard to find someone to cover my hallway duty. You think the war in Iraq, finding Bin Laden, gas prices, infrastructure challenges, Social Security, and the economy are challenging? Try and find someone to take over supervising students 20 minutes before the school day begins.

It’s just not going to happen.

Plus, if I were to run for office I would demand the following: health insurance for my entire family that is far better than what an average citizen receives, yearly raises that are not based on my job performance, a shorter work week than I presently have (anything less than 70 hours would be good), a large staff that would drive me around and take care of all my needs (mainly, picking up my dry cleaning), a huge retirement package, and once I leave public service… the opportunity to work for a huge corporation where I could make an insanely large amount of money.

And what’s the chance that our government would agree to any of these things?

My demands are just crazy.

If you need me, I will be in the hall.

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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.