Metro Councilman Colby Sledge reflects on his Principal For a Day experience

23052264762_accd41ed38_z What would you guess the day of a Metro Schools principal entails? Probably not dealing with an issue regarding the boiler room.

District 17 Council Member Colby Sledge found out that no matter the task, a principal does whatever it takes to ensure school success – including rolling up his sleeves and making sure the heat is properly adjusted in classrooms.

On Monday, Councilman Sledge saw this firsthand when he shadowed the principal of Fall-Hamilton Elementary Mathew Portell. He also observed Portell make time to advise Masters of Education students and always leave his door open to welcome the smallest question from his staff. When those tasks were out of the way, Sledge and Portell visited classrooms to hear lesson plans and view student/teacher interactions.

“I was amazed by how many student names Mathew knew,” said Sledge. “He is so personal and encouraging with the kids, this guy is definitely in these classrooms on a daily basis.”

22647455278_1e79bb259a_z22444649273_da2a31b341_zEach classroom at Fall-Hamilton Elementary has a designated student greeter to welcome guests, so Sledge met the students as he shadowed. One of his favorite parts of the day was seeing his “Lunch Buddy” (from his monthly Lunch Buddy Program) succeeding in the classroom.

“Usually we talk about fun things during lunch, sports and light topics, but on Monday I saw him doing math problems… and doing them so well! It made me feel encouraged and excited about our public schools,” said Sledge.

Sledge spends time at Fall-Hamilton Elementary regularly but advocates for all community leaders to participate in Principal for a Day. He participated this year because he knows how vital it is for leaders, especially Metro Council and School Board members, to be present in schools.

“It is crucial for Metro Schools to know we care about the educational issues on a personal level. If we want to solve anything, presence in schools is a must to create authentic community conversations,” said Sledge. “I can tell you, it is an eye-opening experience.”

Metro Schools was honored to welcome community leaders in 87 schools around the district for the Principal for the Day.

The photos taken of Colby Sledge’s Principal for a Day experience with Fall-Hamilton Principal Mathew Portell are available on Flickr.