May 5, 2013

Lisa DeSisto: What? An F? Not this school

A 'Principal for a Day' finds that nothing fazes the East End Community School's bright, motivated kids and educators.

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Lisa DeSisto, publisher and CEO of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, listens to East End Community School third-grader Lana Al Rubaye read Friday in Portland. DeSisto was visiting via the Principal for a Day program.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Every student I met was engaged and ready to learn. They were eager to share their progress in math and reading with me. Hands went up when a fourth-grade teacher asked, "Who wants to share their poem with our principal?"

Principal Gendron asked one of the fifth-graders to give me advice on how to be a good principal. Abdi didn't miss a beat, saying, "Get out!"

At first, I was taken aback; then he quickly followed up and said, "Get out of your office and talk to the kids." This is good advice for not just for the principal but for every CEO who participated in this eye-opening program. It made me realize I spend too much time behind my desk in my office.

So Monday morning, I am going to greet all of the employees here at MaineToday Media because on Friday, this principal was also a student.

To the staff and students at the East End Community School, thank you for a very special day. I have a new grading system for you. It goes from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. And I give you a well-deserved 11!

Lisa DeSisto is publisher and CEO of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. She can be contacted at:

Twitter: @MaineLisaD


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