Written by Kirstin Campo, AmeriCorps member proudly serving on the Lamar Advertising Company Team at Democracy Prep.

Level 5 Leadership. Teamwork. Excellence. Empathy. Service to a Cause Greater than Self. Inclusivity. These are some of the values, mindsets, and goals that make up the foundation of City Year’s culture and purpose.

October’s National Principals Month is recognized and celebrated by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the American Federation of School Administration across several states, including Louisiana. The aim is to acknowledge and celebrate all the elementary and secondary principals for their dedication to students’, teachers’, and whole school success.

The average student spends upwards of 10 hours a day in the classroom working closely and collaboratively with their teachers. The teachers and their partners stand at the forefront of the community’s education system; in a way, they are “boots on the ground” within schools. On the other hand, principals take responsibility for achieving whole school success by building strong relationships within the school and community- teachers, AmeriCorps members, other staff, individual students, and their families. Principals work and plan with the future and big picture in mind; from participating in community outreach, facilitating the teaching, learning, and development of their teachers. They may not be “boots on the ground” in one sense, but they lead their team by modeling the strategies and action steps for effective management and academic success.

I chose to reach out to other AmeriCorps members of City Year Baton Rouge about their principals to celebrate a few of the individuals who dedicate their lives to education and believe in the power of young people - our future.

Laureanna Crump is a proud AmeriCorps member serving on the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Team at Kenilworth Science and Technology; to celebrate National Principal’s Month, she interviewed the school’s principal, asking what inspired her to go into Education and how her experience has been. She responded that she continued into Education because of “the prior experiences that I had with my own educators throughout my years in school that inspired me to become an educator. There are countless individuals that helped mold me into the individual I am today. To have the opportunity to help mold young minds today is why I became an educator myself.” She continued that, “being an educator is not an easy profession. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, passion, and long hours. Despite its immense pressures and high stress levels, I love working with my amazing students and helping them discover the greatness I see within each of them!”

When asked to describe Executive Director (ED) Gieg, Arquavious “Qua” Gordon, the Impact Manager on the Lamar Advertising Company Team at Democracy Prep, acknowledged her presence and skills, which continue to lead her, and the school, to success. "I love the fact that I can always count on ED Gieg to hold everyone accountable. She's confident in her abilities as well as those of the scholars and staff at Democracy Prep, which I think is a very valuable skill to have. She seems to have some type of magical power that automatically connects her with everyone in the school. I know that if I'm struggling with figuring out how to implement something, she seems to always have the answer or have the advice that I need to point me in the right direction."  

Finally, Madeline Churchill, AmeriCorps member serving at Istrouma High School describes Principal Reginald Douglas’ passion for his community’s school and how he puts intentionally puts his values and ideals to work.“From the first day at Istrouma High School, Principal Reginald Douglas has stressed that Istrouma will be the best high school in the state of Louisiana. Mr. Douglas repeats this mantra every morning to the students, but also spares nothing to make that statement come true. He celebrates the long, rich history of Istrouma High, which opened 100 years ago this year, but also looks forward to a future as an academically successful institution by taking initiatives such as enrolling every student in an AP social studies class and many students in an ACT prep class to prepare them for college. Additionally, Mr. Douglas never misses an opportunity to let every staff member know that they are appreciated for all the extra work that they put in outside of their classes. Principal Douglas makes Istrouma High a great school for all those who attend, work and serve there, and these are just a few of the things that make Mr. Douglas an amazing principal!”

Behind every great teacher, is a great principal. With collaborative work and unified effort among every individual serving in a school, we can make a difference, make better happen, one year at a time.


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