Since coming back from spring break, I’ve been working at one of my schools, Afya PCS, full time. The principal there, Katie Eichman, has taken leave to be at home with her son, who is struggling with a serious heart condition. Katie has been with Afya from the very beginning, 2007. Prior to that she worked with me when I was the principal at Waverly. Katie is a remarkable educator. I remember well the first time that I met her. We had coffee in Federal Hill in late spring, 2003. I was recruiting teachers and heard she was promising. She was a nervous wreck, actually. Her hands were shaking as if in a shiver. I remember that. But I also remember that she wrote every last word down in her little notebook. She’d ask a question and take notes in this cramped, tight little handwriting. Everything was neat and organized. She was intense. On the spot, I knew I’d hire her. My two favorite teacher characteristics are intensity and organization: Katie had both.
All these years later, she’s taking some time to be with her little boy. I’ll be working at Afya for the rest of the school year. I’m intentionally working without a title. Students ask me if I’m the principal or if I will be the new principal. I’m cagey. Being a principal of a school is all-encompassing. It requires total effort. I’m giving a lot to Afya, for sure. But I can’t give everything. Not now. Not at this point in my career. Not given my other work. And so I can’t take a title. I’m just here, at the school, doing my best to help everyone work out the year in the best possible way. Because of this, I have little spare time to think and to write. Principals rarely do. Most good principals are workers: they are in perpetual motion—working, working, working. When I’m in this mode, title or no title, I find it very hard to write much more than a few paragraphs, let alone a blog. And so, I need to take an extended break from writing, until school is over. That's when the third part of the series I've been writing, Clear, Build, Hold: A Plan for Improving Baltimore City’s Public School System in 25 Short Years, will be published.
Prior to that, I’ll make one more posting, announcing some things we have done or will do to celebrate Katie’s service to our schools and our students. —Will