Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

MC Weekly

August 21, 2013

RAY MOSCOWITZ: Elementary principals, teachers are key factors

They fill a critical need in the lives of our children.


Hahn is stilled inspired as he starts his 27th year at Blair Pointe — the only principal the school has had since it opened. When he strides the halls, there’s an aura of respect accorded to him from students and staff. Before going to Blair Pointe he taught sixth grade for 10 years in Wabash, where he still lives.

Observing Miller and Hahn for almost 10 years was an education in leadership. They wore their professionalism on their identification badges.

I met Miller when I started walking inside Pipe Creek after the school day had ended. His savvy and charisma jumped out at me. But a new Maconaquah superintendent came along and decided that I could be a security risk. She booted me.

I hated leaving Pipe Creek after 7½ years. But my banishment turned out to be a blessing. Thanks to Hahn, who possesses the same characteristics as Miller, I became involved with Blair Pointe in a small way.

At both schools, I was eventually given the opportunity to walk while classes were in session. I ambled along late in the afternoon, which has to be the toughest time for teachers. But as I moved past walls adorned with students’ work, I could hear and see that learning was alive and well.

I did not get a sense that any teacher was doing an inferior job. That’s not to say that there aren’t inferior teachers in our schools. There are, just as there are flops in every profession — certainly in journalism, and, obviously, politics, if you consider that a profession.

My gut feelings about the teachers and staff performing well were confirmed as I engaged them in conversations after school let out.

They talked about their joys and sorrows, both in their professional and personal lives. I empathized with them — the frustrations they feel and strive to overcome, their love for their chosen work, their determination to excel, their desire to keep improving, their wish for more support from parents.

I could feel their dedication. It oozed from everyone — teachers, counselors, librarians, specialists.

I especially empathized with them when it came to leadership. I, too, had worked for great leaders — people like Jerry Miller and David Hahn … and, I suspect, Tommy Richardson.

Ray Moscowitz of Bloomington is a retired newspaper executive and former publisher of the Peru Tribune. Contact him at r.mosco@comcast.net.

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