Over the past few weeks, I have written about some of our outstanding teachers and volunteers. Now it's time to tell you about another group of people we can't live without: our school principals.
Good principals support teachers in becoming even better. They bring together faculty, family members and students to determine a school's priorities and ensure that the school is progressing. They counsel children and adults who are facing challenges, often many times a day and at a moment's notice. They are at the same time CEOs and social workers, educators and even chief custodians. They are in the classrooms and hallways all day long and often well into the evenings.
All of our principals work hard, and each May, Mayor Ed Lee recognizes four school leaders as Principals of the Year. In the interest of providing a glimpse into what amazing people our school leaders are, I share with you the mayor's Principals of the Year, with excerpts of their nominations — from parents, colleagues and others.
Ivy Ng, Argonne and Commodore Stockton Early Education Schools
Ng is a dedicated, hardworking administrator who has systematically improved her school's operational and instructional processes. She did this by reworking agreements with community partners to ensure students and families received the best services. She also implemented a cross-grade common planning time system to encourage teachers to participate in joint planning, training and study.
Rosina Tong, Chinese Immersion School at DeAvila
Tong has a true love of learning and she brings everyone along with her through her enthusiasm, intelligence and hard work. She does this with formal programs such as Caring Communities, but also she has fostered an incredible parent community that gets around 90 percent parent involvement. She uses technology and innovation to keep the website updated and keeps parents and children aware of resources.
Michael Reimer, Roosevelt Middle School
Reimer is always walking around the school to check up on things and greet people. To help the nutritional needs of many of the students' families, he partnered with a nearby organization to bring a food pantry to the school once a week. Reimer started the Step Up program at his school to give incoming sixth-graders a full week of orientation over the summer for their big transition to middle school. It's very successful and it's now at all the middle schools.
Eric Guthertz, Mission High School
Guthertz makes Mission High School a safe place for everybody. He works closely with his students, and gives families and students any kind of support they need at school. His willingness to embrace opportunities for service and learning helps the school community stay aware of each other's needs, interests and points of view. As one person said of Guthertz: "Every day, the school is better because of him."
I couldn't say it better myself, and I think this goes for all of our outstanding principals. I am grateful to these and all the administrators who put their energy and endless talents to work in our schools.
Richard A. Carranza is superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.