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Making the right principal choices

Everyone involved with the decision to hire Mychele Swain as Maxwell Elementary School's principal and Rudy Falana as Thomson High School's principal deserves a big pat on the back.

The choices show school system leaders know when to look inside and outside the box for leadership.

From Superintendent Ed Grisham and Assistant Superintendent Gwen Rountree to the school councils and the selection committees -- even the board of education members who OK'd the final choices -- everyone showed they could put the welfare of the schools and students at the forefront of their decisions.

In Mrs. Swain's case, school officials knew that her experience under Hannah Fowler had prepared her to be the best principal for Maxwell. Students and parents there knew and trusted her face as one of the first to introduce children to the educational system. Having her remain at Maxwell Elementary as principal gives those young students stability -- and a familiar friend at the top.

"I'm real fortunate that the school that I'm coming into is so well established," she said. "It's my responsibility now to be sure that we maintain the programs that we have as well as continue to advance as much as possible."

In Mr. Falana's case, it's all about results. He's promised to work with teachers and take direction for the school from them. At the same time, he hopes to raise Thomson High to elite status in the state, and it's a positive step anytime you can improve on an already good school.

"It's already a good school for one, and I don't want anybody to think that it's not," Mr. Falana said. "But at any school or any situation you're in, you can tweak some things to make it even better."

And there's another side of the decisions that's positive. Faculty and staff at both schools were thrilled with the outcome of the principal decisions.

It's great to see a decision made that really works out the best for everyone involved. It's a shame each one can't be that way.

Web posted on Thursday, March 18, 2004

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