Principal Road Trip Days 12 – 13: Ending in Alpena

Friday provided an opportunity to participate in an all-day meeting with the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association’s Board of Directors and local regional leadership. MEMSPA is a community of principals dedicated to advocating, leading and learning.

They recognize the evolving nature of the principal’s role and support those committed to this important work. The group is enthusiastic – it was wonderful seeing their leadership within our state!

Final Day: Back to Alpena

Today, Monday, led me to Hinks Elementary in Alpena – and the last stop on the school tour that covered over 4,800 miles. The Hinks Hawks are led by Sharon Miller, and she shared that the school is embracing a year-long theme of “The World Is Yours to Explore.” The theme has provided opportunity for staff to tie in the various content areas – quite exciting – and, as the location of Alpena is in rural northeast Michigan, affords the students the opportunity to discover the world!

Hinks is a PBIS school that stresses the importance of being organized, respectful and kind. They celebrate their accomplishments with a PBIS assembly every Friday.

The school staff tracks their student reading progress individually but also have a data wall for the entire school in the teacher workroom, keeping an eye on student growth with the end of year goal in mind.

Today, being the first day of National Principals Month, Mrs. Miller brings her colleagues across the nation greetings.

Where the Road Ends

I have to be honest, I had high expectations for the Ed-venture. However, it eclipsed even my highest expectations and has been a highlight for my career. There was a moment when I was leaving Wisconsin and I was on the expressway reflecting on the experience so far, that it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you to all the great administrators that shared their time, schools and dreams for their learning communities. For those that have followed along, I hope that you have found the experience valuable and have enjoyed the ride. I know that I am a better advocate for students as a result of the experience.

Many thanks to the fine folks at Meemic! They have been a wonderfully enthusiastic group to work with and have provided great support. Meemic embraced the idea from the genesis and ran with it, working cooperatively with myself and NAESP.

Why I Belong to NAESP

Out of the entire time I was one the road, I spent only five nights in a hotel. The rest of the nights, I was invited to stay in the homes of principals and association leaders. That’s pretty amazing in of itself, as it allowed the conversations to continue while giving me the ability to spend time with their families. State organizations and NAESP provide the opportunity to make lifelong friendships that allow you a network of colleagues to call on. The professional learning that is available is always a blockbuster, but it’s the professional family that makes it for me. The principalship is a demanding position that requires balancing the needs of many stakeholders – including your own family. What I have seen from the road, the principalship is a lifestyle that family members are integrated into. They are the rocks that give us the fortitude to make our schools a great learning environment for our community’s children.

Thank you for all that you do! This is not the end of the road – for we all have many more miles to go in the advocacy for our schools.

All the best,
Eric


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NAESP President Eric Cardwell as he travels on a nearly 4,500 mile road trip to visit schools around the country.