More than 200 guest principals shadowed Long Beach Unified School District principals during the recent Principal for a Day event, the largest single-day involvement of business and community leaders in local schools.
LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser, Cal State Long Beach Vice Provost David Dowell and Long Beach City College Superintendent-President Eloy Ortiz Oakley joined business leaders in reporting their experiences at a “State of Education” debriefing at the Center Theater in the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center. Guest principals shared what they saw during their morning visits at schools.
The school district also honored The Boeing Company and Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster for their lasting contributions to local schools.
The annual Principal for a Day event allows business and community leaders to become principals for a day at elementary, middle and high schools to observe students, teachers and the operations of California’s third largest school district. More than 1,000 business partnerships with schools have begun as a result of the event.
Among this year’s participants was Henry Walker, president of Farmers and Merchants Bank. He spent the morning at Poly High School before sharing his observations at the State of Education event.
“It was absolutely an excellent day. It was great to see the engagement of the youth and energy of the staff who are doing the daily job of teaching,” Walker said. “When you see that progress and dedication, you feel good about your taxes going toward that public service. I enjoyed it immensely, being in the classrooms. I did see some students who I’d like to pick from that crop for employment.”
Walker’s father and grandfather attended Poly. Decades ago when LBUSD was having difficulty selling school bonds to build new schools, the grandfather purchased them. Today, Walker marvels at the daily operations of a large high school.
“From a corporate standpoint, being the principal is like being the CEO of a company with 4,800 customers every day and more than 300 full and part time staff,” Walker said. “It’s a big operation with a lot of moving parts. It takes a lot of cooperation. It makes me proud of the education that we provide.”