Education column: District’s principals positive force

By Penny Bailey: Clovis Municipal Schools

Tomorrow is the first day of the New Year… ready or not, change is here.

So, when you hear something is going to ‘change’, what is the first emotion you feel?

For me, it is usually tension. I am never too sure how this new change is going to affect my life. Therefore, I must admit, I do not always welcome change.

But, I have to tell you about an exciting change that has taken place over the years and it has certainly been for the better. However, before I tell you about this change, I have to take you back about 40 years… when I was in elementary school (yes, I know I’m telling my age).

My classmates and I were very afraid of our principal. If we ever saw him, he was glaring at us from the end of the hallway.

All I remember is that he appeared to be the tallest man in the world, and he always had a frown on his face. There were the rumors about the various paddles he had in his office. Supposedly, he had paddles with tacks, with holes, and with nails.

Of course, these were only rumors, but we all knew we did not want to go anywhere near him.

Now, fast forward to the present.

I was invited to attend a special monthly luncheon at James Bickley Elementary School a few weeks ago. The principal, Todd Morris, was having lunch with three outstanding students from each class. What I immediately observed was things have significantly changed — and for the better.

The students eagerly approached their special table where they would have pizza with their principal. Principal Morris greeted each one with a smile and they returned it. Some of the students even gave him a hug.

Then, much to my surprise, the students sat down and waited while their principal served them.

The students were so excited to be there, and they were not short on conversation either as they told their Principal all about their day, their dogs, their families, and more. And, when the bell rang, they didn’t even have to pick up their trays.

You guessed, it Principal Morris put the students’ trays away for them.

And, if you think that it is only Principal Morris and Bickley Elementary School where the students like their principal, you would be wrong. I have observed this same type of relationship between students and principals at our other schools as well.

Change may not always be welcome, but observing the wonderful and healthy relationship between students and staff at our schools is one change that I’m glad occurred.

Happy New Year.