Go to the head of the class
by: peter wylie, Les Geren of Geren's Farm Supply learns the ropes of being principal at Cedar Ridge Middle School from Molly Knudsen.

Students sent to the principal's office on Tuesday, April 22, could be forgiven if they thought they were in double-trouble. On that day, schools in the Oregon Trail School District each enjoyed two principals - the one that shows up every other day of the school year and community member who visited as the 'Principal for a Day.'

The special day offered an educational opportunity for the nine lucky locals who got to see how the district's schools work, including spending time visiting classrooms, observing teaching and learning and reviewing achievement goals. They also developed an appreciation for the hard work and dedication that the resident principal puts in every day.

'I was really impressed,' said Ginger Mitchell, Operations Officer at Clackamas County Bank, who spent the day at Naas Elementary School. 'The kids aren't afraid of (Principal Kimberly Braunberger), they all like her. She's like a mom.'

'It seemed like (Principal Mike Sutton) knew every kids name and story,' said Tom Anderson, co-owner of the Rendezvous Grill in Welches, who visited Welches Elementary and Middle Schools. 'He'd be good in the restaurant business.'

A number of visiting principals also discovered inadequate facilities that students and staff deal with on a daily basis. Les Geren, owner of Geren's Farm Supply, observed two microwaves while visiting Cedar Ridge Middle School, but there was one big problem.

'We didn't have enough electricity, so we could only turn one on,' said Geren, who also noted students formed a long line to use the one operational microwave.

Hollis MacLean-Wenzel, Executive Director of the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce, learned that space restrictions at Firwood Elementary School mean that students only get physical education twice a week. That's because the space that class needs doubles as a cafeteria.

'We need to be teaching our kids to take care of their bodies as well as their minds,' said MacLean-Wenzel.

With everything that principals deal with, community members also found that the job is not unlike what they deal with at their respective jobs.

'I felt like being a principal is not unlike what I'm doing anyway,' said MacLean-Wenzel. 'It means you get a lot of interruptions and you're day is not your own. And it sounds like a principal takes his work home, just like I do.'

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