PENCIL Hosts 'Principal for a Day' Event In Metro Schools

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to walk a day in a principal’s shoes? This week, business and community leaders from all sectors of Nashville got a small taste of one of the hardest jobs in the district.

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Wednesday, Oct. 24, PENCIL, an organization focused on aligning community resources with different needs throughout Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), hosted its annual Principal for a Day (PFAD) event. More than 70 community leaders spent the morning in one of Nashville’s public schools shadowing a principal, followed by a luncheon at Lipscomb University. Visitors toured schools, participated in morning announcements, met students and teachers and got a taste of real day-to-day situations — working alongside the school’s principal to handle difficult and sometimes unexpected problems. The event builds relationships between principals and business leaders who want to be more involved in public education.

“With this experience, I feel like I really got a behind the scenes look,” said Kyonzte Highes-Toombs, a first-time PFAD participant who serves as the secretary and general counsel of The Equity Alliance. “I was able to see all the activities and opportunities that Rosebank provides students like Plant the Seed and other STEAM activities.”

Each Metro School showcased its unique programs and morning routines; every visitor left with a new friend, a new experience and expanded knowledge about their community school.

Erin Colman, an attorney at Yad Consulting LLC., was the Principal for a Day at Cockrill Elementary, where she attended the leadership breakfast club, led by Principal Dr. Carlos Comer.

“It was amazing to see what’s happening in schools to deal with social-emotional wellbeing and the proactive things they are doing to combat those difficulties,” Colman said. “Dr. Comer is a great role model for these young men.”

Metro Council member, Burkley Allen is a returning PFAD participant. This year, she visited West End Middle School and learned about one of WEMS’s main student languages: sign language. West End has classes and interpreters on staff for deaf and hard of hearing students.

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 “I saw a school culture that really embraces this language,” Allen said when speaking on the highlights of her visit.

The luncheon that followed included performances from Pearl-Cohn High School students and comments from Angie Adams, PENCIL’s CEO, Dr. Deborah Boyd from Lipscomb University, Bob Lawhon from Pinnacle Bank, a fellow event partner, and Dr. Joseph, MNPS Director of Schools.

Lawhon visited his own alma mater, Overton High School, and was amazed to see more positive things than he imagined. He delivered a call-to-action for his fellow participants: encouraging the business community to go back and share the good work they saw at MNPS with their coworkers and within their own communities.  Dr. Joseph mirrored the same sentiment.

“Today you had the opportunity to experience the great things happening in every Metro school,” Dr. Joseph said, “There is so much to celebrate because of our hardworking staff and principals. After seeing what you saw today we hope you’re inspired to be a partner to help our children get what they need.”

If you are interested in involvement with Metro Schools as a community partner, visit Pencilforschools.org to learn more.