Thursday, February 18, 2016

Humans of Downey - Bob


I was at Disneyland this evening celebrating my grandson's second birthday, so I took the opportunity to interview someone staying at Disney's Grand California Hotel. Bob and his wife, Kristen, are from Marin County in northern California.

"I first met my wife, Kristen, when we were both teachers at the same school. We taught third grade together at Coleman Elementary School in San Rafael and our classrooms were next to each other. We were at first colleagues, then we grew to be more than colleagues. We kept it a secret from everybody at the school for a little over a year. It was our students that first noticed I was giving Kristen the 'loving eyes,' according to one of their diaries. Now she works at the County Office of Education and I'm a middle school principal.

"How I became a school principal was, when both of us were school teachers, Kristen got her Administrative Credential before I did. So I was spurred on by her to get mine. But I still didn't think I wanted to be a principal. I had this feeling that the real work happens in the classroom and that's where I want to be. The principal at our school and another colleague kind of pushed me. They said, 'There is this principal position opening in our district and it should be you. You need to go for it and these opportunities don't come around very often.'

"I felt kind of swept up into applying for the position, but I got it. So I have changed my tune of 'I never want to be a principal' to now I can't imagine filling any other role in the school system. I strive to never lose the mindset that I am there to help the teachers do their jobs. That the kids are getting what they need in the best possible way. I try to never lose sight of that. It's very easy to make that switch of 'everybody is working for me' where it should be the other way around. It should be, are the kids happy, are they learning? Are the teachers happy, are they able to connect with the kids to get their jobs done? That's what it is all about."
~ Bob

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