The day started out as a normal one for most 11-year-olds. Wake up, get dressed, breakfast. Brush teeth, head to school. On April 26, though, the routine was slightly different for Easton student Annie Gnidula.
Annie, 11, won the chance to be Samuel Staples Elementary School’s “Principal for the Day” during the holiday auction sponsored by the Easton Learning Foundation (ELF). ELF holds auctions annually for student “experiences” in order to raise money for enrichment programs at Easton schools and Joel Barlow High School.
Following several postponements due to snow-related school closures, Annie was finally able to serve her day as principal mid-spring.
Not merely a shadowing exercise, serving as Principal for the Day can also be a taxing responsibility for a student. Staples Principal Kimberly Fox-Santora, tasked Annie with no fewer than a dozen legitimate duties, ranging from leading morning announcements, to drafting and sending an email to the parent distribution list. She was also accountable for student discipline issues, as well as HR matters (staff asking for days off).
“Annie’s calm and curious mind reminded me just how I miss being a teacher,” said Fox-Santora following their day together. “She asked me so many great questions, requiring me to really examine why and how I do things as principal. Truthfully, I think I gained more from spending the day with Annie than Annie gained from spending her day with me.”
Annie said she thoroughly enjoyed her experience and gained a new appreciation for just how hard the principal’s job is on a daily basis. “We couldn’t get through one slice of pizza during lunch without being interrupted,” she said.