Leaders in the San Francisco Unified School District meet regularly with principals to ensure they are always improving. (Courtesy photo)

It’s never too late to appreciate SF principals

Last month was Principal Appreciation Month. To sum it up, I’d like to take an extra day to send one more shout out to these smart, courageous people who make a profound difference in our community.

Every day, our principals and assistant principals go above and beyond for our students, families and their colleagues while tackling never-ending to-do lists.

I see them early in the morning, checking in with their students and making sure hungry children eat breakfast. I see them out on the yard keeping everyone safe at lunch. They meet with parents, teachers and members of the community all day long. They often lead meetings at night and come to school sports events on weekends.

That’s a long workweek. And all the while, they lead and represent their school communities wisely, proudly and with empathy. People like Lindsey Keener, at San Francisco Public Montessori elementary, and Jean Robertson, principal at Glen Park Elementary School. And people like Carline Sinkler at Herbert Hoover Middle School. And Julie Kessler at San Francisco International High School.

These are just a few who have recently been honored with the Mayor’s Principal of the Year Award. In reality, all our site leaders are hard at work in our schools every day — often without the recognition of an award.

Those of us who work in service of all schools in the San Francisco Unified School District challenge ourselves to find ways to support school leaders and lighten their load. In fact, we meet regularly with our principals and survey them annually to make sure we are always improving.

American novelist Edith Wharton said something that comes to mind when I think about our principals: “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”​ ​

Here at the SFUSD, we are honored to have site leaders who act as both brightly burning candles and large mirrors reflecting the brilliance of their school teams.

The official month of recognition may have just ended, but it’s never too late to show our principals how much we appreciate them. I’m sure you can think of many creative ways to do this. One simple way is to go online and write a quick word of praise at www.sfusd.edu/en/rave-recognizing-all-valuable-employees.html.

Myong Leigh is interim superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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