In honor of National Principals Month celebrating the hard work of school principals nationwide, Great Schools Charles Village has taken the opportunity to showcase our very own community school principals at Margaret Brent and Barclay Elementary and Middle School. A students’ success signifies a great school, but the key to a great school truly is a great principal. Next month both our schools will be having their Fall Open House, so take this opportunity to read about our wonderful Principal Smith of Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle School.
1. What led you to become principal of Margaret Brent Elementary Middle school?
After two years of service as the Facilitator for School Support Network 8 – that had me traveling to and supporting 11 different schools, I was ready for a more permanent home. Margaret Brent was one of the schools that I worked with and when Dr. J. shared with me that she was contemplating retirement, I started thinking about the possibility of pursuing the principal-ship of Margaret Brent. The principal selection process was a very interesting experience. On July 30, 2013, the Board of Commissioners approved my appointment as principal, and the experiences have been instrumental to my continued growth and development as a leader.
2. What is something you have learned in your education that you still use and helps you as principal today?
One of the things that I learned in my education, as a little girl, that I still use as a principal is to treat others the way that I want to be treated. Every morning I give this message to the students via morning announcements. I think this is a good message for students, staff, parents, administrators, community partners and any other stakeholders – treat others the way that you want to be treated. The same level of respect, responsiveness, commitment, care and consideration that you would hope to receive from others, be sure that you are found giving that to others on a regular basis.
3. How do you best motivate your students, teachers, and parents?
I try to motivate through support. Regardless of whether I am working with students, staff or parents, I want to be sure that proper supports are in place. One of the things that I have said repeatedly since I have been here is that “the expectation is EXCELLENCE”. I have had discussions with students, staff and parents about what that means, and I have and continue to work to put the proper supports in place so that excellence can be realized by students, staff and parents. I believe that people are motivated to reach new level and achieve higher standards, if they know that they will be supported in the process.
4. How do they motivate you?
As an educator, my main motivation comes from my students. My first priority in the decisions that I make are my students and how they will be impacted by my decisions. From the time I was in the classroom, it has always been about my students first and foremost. I do not take lightly the influence that I carry as an educator and even more so now that I am an educational leader. I want to provide my students with a good example of a professional that cares about them, has high expectations of them, puts boundaries and structures in place for their safety, works with various stakeholders on their behalf and wants them to thoroughly enjoy their childhood and their time at Margaret Brent Elementary Middle School.
5. Do you have any surprising skills and/or special duties besides principal?
Surprising skills… I play the viola
Special duties – My favorite special duty is what my family has termed “Aunt Duty”. I have a niece and nephew that I absolutely adore. Aunt Duty sometimes means they are hanging out with me on the weekends. Sometimes Aunt Duty means that I have to use my educator skills to assist with projects or help to make sense of Julius Ceasar (now we are working on Macbeth). My other special duty is dog owner. I have a 2 year old chocolate brown Cockapoo named Hershey. He is my favorite dog ever – he is also the only dog I have ever had .
6. Who is your modern day hero?
I admire and respect anyone who operates with a high level of integrity and transparency. I like to know that people are loyal and trustworthy, and that whatever they are tasked with doing they do it to the very best of their ability.
7. If you were a school supply (crayons, pencil sharpener, piece of paper), what would you be and why?
If I were a school supply I would be an eraser. An eraser is used for correcting mistakes and sometimes in my role as an educator/principal, I have to correct mistakes that have been made by others or that I have made. Erasers are important because they provide a safeguard to let people know that you don’t have to be perfect and that if a mistake is made, it can be erased and corrected.
8. What’s the first thing you love to tell prospective parents about Margaret Brent?
I like to tell parents that Margaret Brent is a school that is in transition, we are going from being a good school to a great school. I encourage parents to join in the journey by having their child enrolled and by participating in the various opportunities for parents to be involved around the school.