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Today, I had the distinct pleasure as serving as Principal for The Day at Norris Middle School. Going into this morning, I knew I would finish the day with a deeper level of respect for school administrators; however, as I reflect on my time spent at Norris Middle School today, I am simply amazed. Mr. Harshbarger and his faculty and staff have an incredible passion for their students and work diligently to improve learning and the learning experience for all students. Students are treated as individuals, and it is inspiring to see how the faculty connect with each of them.


Good news, Mr. Harshbarger! Your job is safe! There aren’t enough alarm clocks east of the Mississippi that could get me to school that early every day.


Top Ten Things I Learned While Being Principal For The Day

  1. Principals wear A LOT of hats: they are administrators, they pick up trash that falls out of cars when kids get out at the curb, they clean up spills, they high-five, they are evaluators, mentors, and encouragers
  2. Principals do a lot of work behind the scenes that most people never see
  3. Principals and teachers play a special role in the life of a child and are uniquely positioned to be positive role models
  4. Principals and teachers care deeply about the academic performance and well-being, both physical and emotional, of each individual student they serve
  5. Classroom teachers each have a unique way of connecting with their students
  6. Principals and teachers are always planning ways to teach your children better
  7. Principals spend their days catering to students and faculty and must address their administrative duties sometime later
  8. Classroom teachers are experts at audience management
  9. The inclusion of technology has made the education system incredibly interactive and much different from the education I received
  10. Students learn advanced ideas at a young age and it is really inspiring to see how they are taught how to operationalize advanced ideas


I averaged approximately 1,200 steps per hour during my Principal For The Day stint. Here’s an approximate breakdown of my activity between 7:20 am to 11:45 am:


  • 7:20 am: Greet car riders arriving at school
  • 8:05 am: Lead students in Pledge of Allegiance
  • 8:10 am: Attend teacher evaluation with Mr. Harshbarger (lesson on reading comprehension)
  • 8:30 am: Observe technology class (students were evaluating structures in the building to study bridges)
  • 8:45 am: Observe brass band class (students were learning to play Jolly Old St. Nicholas)
  • 9:00 am: Observe graphic arts class (students were designing clothing)
  • 9:15 am: Attend teacher evaluation with Mr. Harshbarger (students were learning to create a timeline based on a book they read)
  • 9:25 am: Monitor students in hallway during class break
  • 9:40 am: Observe student enrichment class (students were drawing chapter representations of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine)
  • 10:10 am: Observe robotics class (students were designing, building, coding, and programming robots)
  • 10:30 am: Observe Anderson County Sheriff’s Office conduct Life Skills class
  • 10:40 am: Attend meeting on the effectiveness of teacher evaluations and the importance of promotion of a culture of progress and professional growth
  • 11:05 am: Observe math class (students were learning order of operations and were interacting with instruction through their Chromebooks)
  • 11:15 am: Watched while Mr. Harshbarger did tech support on a student’s Chromebook so he could fully participate in class
  • 11:20 am: Served as lunch room monitor
  • 11:45 am: Left exhausted after about a third of a Principals’ normal work day


Did you know Anderson County Schools exceeds both the state and national average in attendance? ACS also maintains a high graduation rate at 95.5%! Anderson County students who took the ACT last year scored higher in every single subcategory, as well as overall composite scores than the state average.


I also have to recognize the flyer I received today that boasts “ACS students have been accepted to attend universities such as MIT, Princeton, Duke, EMORY & HENRY (rah, rah, rah!), Vanderbilt, Auburn, Alabama, and the University of Tennessee.


To all our educators and school administrators and Anderson County Schools, who bring such passion with them each day to enrich the lives of our children, THANK YOU!

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