MOSES LAKE — Brandon Swinger said he didn’t really know all the tasks required of a school principal.
“I thought they just make up the rules and talked to kids when they needed a talking-to,” Brandon, 10, said. His brother Zane, 8, said he figured principals talked to parents too, and spent time in classrooms, “and other stuff.”
Actually principals do more than that. Brandon and Zane spent the whole day finding out what principals do when they followed Moses Lake Christian Academy principal Mark Agrellas. The brothers were two of four kids who got to be Principal for a Day.
The chance to be Principal for a Day is always part of the school’s annual fundraising auction, and it proved so popular in 2016-17 that four kids got the chance. Elijah Burns and Daniel Emerson were Principals for a Day in March.
So what does Mr. Agrellas do all day? The brothers said the principal starts working even before school starts. First thing in the morning, “we greet people, say good morning as they get out of their cars,” Zane said.
Brandon and Zane were there first thing in the morning, dressed as a principal should be dressed, Brandon in a tie, Zane wearing a sweater vest. They helped Mr. Agrellas at chapel, one service for the grade school kids, one for the middle school and high school. They learned the principal is responsible for school security – they helped him lock the door when chapel was over.
Agrellas said he tried to make sure the principals for a day got to see most of the jobs the principal does, so he scheduled teacher observations. (“We’re going to walk in and see how they’re doing with their students” was Zane’s explanation of teacher observation.) The principals also had “a working lunch. At McDonald’s – they got to choose that,” Agrellas said.
“We try to make it as real as possible,” he said. So Mr. Agrellas and his principals for a day held mock meetings with students who needed to work on grades and a mock conversation with parents who were thinking of enrolling a student at MLCA.
“It’s been really fun,” Brendon said. It was valuable for the principal as well, Agrellas said, a chance to get the student perspective. “Good to get their input.”
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.