To understand what it is like to be someone else, it is imperative to walk a mile in his or her shoes. Bert Cook, executive director of La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership, and Mark Krentz, mayor of La Porte, walked that mile and many more as they were honorary Principals for the Day on November 8th.
Crichfield welcomed Krentz, and Riley opened its doors for Cook as a part of Indiana Association of Principals’ push to have community leaders to see the demands and rigors of being a building leader.
“My goal was to help Mr. Cook observe all of the ways we educate the whole child at the elementary school level. Mr. Cook was a part of our Guiding All Kids (GAK) Committee the last two years,” Chris Alber, Riley principal, said.
With the desire being for the honorary principals to see an authentic day, Crichfield principal Donna Biggs and Alber treated their guests to a jam packed schedule including attending meetings, reading stories, helping with experiments and egg drops, and visiting classrooms.
“The role is much more interactive than I would have believed before spending the day with Mr. Alber. We spent no time at all in his office but rather were with the students and staff for the entirety. From breakfast in the cafeteria to in-class connections, it was very clear Mr. Alber is a fixture amongst the students,” Cook said.
Neither Cook nor Krentz was afraid to jump right into their new role for the day.
“Mayor Krentz was a fantastic principal! He was engaging with staff and students and took the time to talk with everyone he met. He allowed students to ask him many, many questions and jumped right in to be a part of classroom activities,” Biggs said.
It didn’t take long for the honorary principals to see how demanding the job was. The busy pace of job was evident quickly.
“It really it me that this is a big, big job. It’s not that I didn’t think it was, but being here first-hand seeing that was amazing to me,” Krentz said.
Biggs and Alber didn’t have the day off. They took advantage of the opportunity to show off the intricate workings of their building and the hard work put in by all members of the staff.
“I hope that Mayor Krentz was able to see all of the inner workings that go on throughout a school day. The school runs much like a little city, and we talked about the many similarities. I hope he saw the dedication and hard work that the staff puts into providing a safe, caring and engaging learning environment for our students. I hope he saw the love that our students have for learning and the reinforcement of their curiosity on behalf of their teachers. I hope he saw kindness and compassion throughout the building, with staff and students alike,” Biggs said.
At the end of the day, it was both parties who left with an extra heap of gratitude and appreciation.
“The main takeaway for me was how cared for each and every student at Riley is. I was blown away that Mr. Alber (and most of the teachers as well) knew every student by name. The interactions between the students and staff speaks to the incredible amount of time, energy and caring each puts into their profession. It is very difficult to put into words just how lucky our community is to have Chris Alber and his entire staff educating our young people at Riley!” Cook said.
Krentz echoed the same sentiments.
“Thank you, Principal Biggs and the marvelous team at Crichfield! You are all doing an amazing job; it was, indeed, my honor to get a glimpse of your world. Witnessing the important sensitive interaction with staff and students was both heartwarming and humbling. This will be a day I will never forget! Much respect and appreciation to all of you,” Krentz said.
And on this day day when over 15,000 teachers are rallying down in Indianapolis for education, Krentz made sure to wear his red.