Day in the life of a principal

Jacoy Willis, Editor-in-Chief

This issue I decided to stay a bit closer to school for my ‘Day in the Life of…’. I didn’t really know what the three administrators Vicki Sherwood, Kristin Rose and Jon Stern did all day except for the few times I’ve seen them in classrooms or in their offices. So I asked to follow them for a day. Little did I know, this job shadow would start almost two hours before school even started.

“I need to manage many aspects of the school including parents, students and staff,” Sherwood said. “That’s why I get here early, to be prepared for the day.”

Sherwood is one of the first few to arrive at school in the morning. She starts her day at 5:30 a.m. by answering the 100 or more emails, messages and voicemails she received the day before. She also needs to plan ahead for the day, which includes requesting substitutes for absent teachers.

The day I shadowed them, Sherwood and Rose were going to Woodinville High School to see a speaker during an assembly for the school, deciding whether or not they wanted to hire the speaker for Inglemoor. Stern was also out of the building because of a sportsmanship meeting at Issaquah High School.

With the three administrators gone, Sam Jackson, a retired Inglemoor vice principal, came in to help for the morning.

“I like working with people and seeing the commitment students have for learning,” Jackson said. “It’s one reason I like to keep subbing here.”

When Sherwood and Rose returned, they had no time to rest before having to deal with various situations that arose. Meetings, phone calls, drop-ins, notes and other exchanges ensued, many of which were confidential.

“There are 100 things that you need to do when you arrive in the morning, but an emergency happens, and by the end of the day you realize you didn’t get to any of the things you originally needed to do,” Sherwood said.

Dealing with emergencies and making difficult decisions is part of the job the administrators agree to do, but it doesn’t make it their favorite part of the job.

“Our primary goal is to keep people safe; that’s what the discipline is for,” Stern said. “But, I sometimes get a pit in my stomach when I have to be the ‘axe.’”

Each of the administrators shows a lot of passion for their work every day and all of them accounted it to the fact that the students “energize and inspire” them to keep working hard.

“It’s like we are parents to 1600 kids,” Sherwood said. “We want the best for each and every one of them.”

During seventh period, Sherwood, Rose and Stern all went to a meeting with the department heads of the school to discuss upcoming events and other important information. This is just one of about three mandatory meetings that the administrators have each week.

“We have a lot of meetings after school, but we also try go to as many of the musicals, concerts, sports and other student activities as we can,” Rose said.

At the end of the day, Sherwood, Rose and Stern all headed back to their offices to finish up what they could and send those last emails for the day. They try to get out of the office by 4:00 p.m., sometimes they succeed and sometimes they don’t, but an administrator’s work is never done.

“There’s so much to do. The day is always predictably unpredictable,” Sherwood said. “And I love it like that.”