National Principals Month: What About the Assistant Principals?


Katie Gallagher

Mr. Bittner talks with Deputy Jones during lunch duty.

by Katie Gallagher, Reporter

October is National Principal Appreciation Month, a time to say a “thank you” to the principals who make your school function. But what about the Assistant Principals? They work equally as hard as the head principal and can be underappreciated. Three assistant principals Chris Bittner, Michelle Gilmore, and Andrew McWilliams support Nancy Doll in the education of more than 1,300 students every day.

Not only do the assistant principals dedicate themselves to Linganore during the day, but the job also carries over into their evenings. At least one AP is at almost every extracurricular event–this includes sporting events, honor society inductions, plays, homecoming, and much more.

To become an assistant principal, applicants are required to complete a few years of teaching and then earn a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership or Administration. McWilliams taught for 7 years at Urbana High School as an English teacher and also taught Spanish and drama.

“The first week on the job as an AP taught me more about the job than the training,” said McWilliams.

7:15-7:30 AM Bus Duty:

Assistant principals kick off the school day by doing one of the most dreaded jobs: bus duty. They are the ones who stand in the unfortunate weather early in the morning to direct traffic and supervise buses. They stand in the front lot to direct the car rider line to make it run smoothly. They allow students to cross the walkway safely to get into the school. The AP’s can also stand in the back lot to supervise students walking up from the stadium parking lot.

1st Period:

Right at the start of first period, it is the norm for stragglers to trickle in past the bell. These late students are subject to this year’s new late policy. Two late violations are a warning, and after the second late is a lunch detention. If a student gets five unexcused lates, their parking pass is revoked for two weeks.

Mrs. Gilmore is usually at the “Late Desk” every morning to enforce this rule. 

2nd Period:  

Some days are filled with mandatory meetings. The day I shadowed, they unfortunately had meetings that I could not attend due to privacy reasons. There are monthly meetings where they discuss county wide initiatives. McWilliams said that some of the main points this year are teacher evaluation processes and cultural proficiency.

Other meetings include monthly faculty meetings, department meetings, and interviews for vacancies in school positions. AP’s also observe classes to evaluate the teachers and their classes. 

“No day is the same for us,” said Gilmore. Their schedules are always booked whether it be mandatory school meetings, student meetings, parent meetings, or school improvement planning. That leaves no time to relax. This is a high stress job.

Lunch Duty:

Through each lunch shift, Gilmore, Bittner, and McWilliams, along with other staff members, supervise the hundreds of kids in the lunchroom at a time. They are monitoring misbehavior, interacting with students, and making important and dismissal announcements.

“One of my least favorite parts of my job is addressing the same negative behavior repeatedly. Students need to be responsible now that they are in high school and clean up after themselves,” said McWilliams. He deals with problems such as throwing items or leaving trash in the lunchroom almost every day.

3rd Period:

AP’s discuss disciplinary actions with students throughout the day. They try to work out problems and discover solutions to problems such as lateness, misbehavior in class, personal issues, and misunderstandings.

“I love working with and helping students one-on-one,” said McWilliams. Assistant principals do the majority of handling the student issues before the issue gets to the head principal.  

4th Period:

SSL student, Jessica Newquist, said that every day is different for the AP’s. The SSL job consists of running passes and notes, but she is in the office every day with each of the assistant principals.

“They are usually dealing with drama and trying to resolve problems with students during the class periods,” said Newquist.

The assistant principal’s overall job is to aid the head principal in administration of the school. I believe that there should be an assistant principals appreciation month for the hard working people such as Mr. Bittner, Mrs. Gilmore, Mr. McWilliams, and assistant principals everywhere.