By Garland Noel
The front office bustles with activity, kids, teachers, and administrative staff moving to and fro like ants in a hive. Principal Janie Whaley has been queen of the front office and beyond, keeping everything in its place, everyone running in synch, and the school a safe learning environment for countless students. Next year however, is a different story, and now the front office has found a new monarch in assistant principal Rob Willman to replace a retiring Whaley.
“It’s a big responsibility with a lot of moving parts. I feel like I know what I am getting myself into, but there’ll be some surprises that come up,” said Willman.
Looking to fill Whaley’s metaphorical shoes, Willman shared his philosophy on what he believed needed to be brought to the position.
“You have to be a good listener. You have to have a vision, but you also have to be willing to work with others,” said Willman. “It’s sort of like when you take a trip. You have to have a person that has a compass to get you in the right direction but you also have to have a person that has a map because you could run into a swamp or a lake or off a cliff or something. That’s important that you surround yourself with both the map and the compass.”
According to principal’s secretary Sheila Stewart, being principal also takes good people skills and a large knowledge base.
“You have to have someone very strong and knowledge based about education, you’ve got to have someone that is a great community person, that can speak to the community, and who can promote Floyd Central,” said Stewart.
In addition to the needed personality attributes, both Stewart and Whaley herself noted the need for a massive dedication to the job.
“This an extremely consuming job and by that I mean it can eat you alive,” said Whaley. “It’s almost 24/7.”
Whaley stressed the need to not only be dedicated, but to enjoy the career.
“I try not to walk into the building on Sundays, but I’m there at least six days a week and usually two or three nights. You’ve got to love your people and love what you do; otherwise you can’t do that,” said Whaley.
In the end, the job of directing the school will take dedication, people skills, and a large amount of love, but according to Whaley, it gives much more.
“I have loved the building and loved the experience. It wasn’t something I thought I’d always do, but when the opportunity came, I said ‘Yeah, bring it!’, and it’s been really fun,” said Whaley.
To read more about the transition from Whaley to Willman, check out the May 13 issue of the Bagpiper.