DALLAS — When you were in school, did you ever wonder to yourself, "what if I were principal for a day?"
On Wednesday, WFAA's Cynthia Izaguirre and our station general manager, Brad Ramsey, got that chance thanks to the Principal for a Day Program (PFAD) with the Dallas Independent School District.
The program is meant to help people who don't work in education understand the strengths and challenges Dallas ISD schools face.
Ramsey commended DISD for hosting the program because "it's so important, not only in our business and our industry, to get out and connect with local schools, but that our business community do it," he said. "These are future leaders who are learning right here in our community."
He said it was "neat to see up-close so many teachers, educators, people committed to education working with these kids in this unique environment."
Ramsey spent his day as principal of George Bannerman Dealey Montessori School and International Academy, reading to kids and meeting administrators, while Izaguirre spent time at Townview Magnet Center, one of DISD’s crown jewels.
The mission of the school is "to provide an environment in which the unique worth, dignity, and abilities of each individual are not only recognized but cultivated and celebrated," according to the school's website.
"We wish to provide an educational experience that empowers highly capable students to interact with their intellectual peers in academic, creative, aesthetic, and social endeavors in order to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow and to become life-long learners, responsible citizens, and contributors to the betterment of society as a whole in an ever-changing world."
During the day, the principals were guided by students like junior Alex Garcia, who called the program an "amazing opportunity."
“I think PFAD was a great event," he said. "I got to meet a lot of people and honestly that was amazing. Guiding them throughout the school and showing them what we’ve done was an amazing opportunity and was the best thing I’ve ever done."
Senior Jacob Gonzales echoed that, saying he hoped those, like Izaguirre, who participated in Principal for a Day were able to see what it's like to be a principal, "not really from a power place, but really understanding the students and being part of the community and just … being part of our family," Gonzales said.
Sophomore Emma Blackburn, who started at the school last year, but wasn't able to attend in person because of the pandemic, said she even learned a lot about the school herself.
"So, I got to learn a lot while all being able to teach you all," she explained.
After spending the day as principal, Izaguirre said the students she met were nothing short of bright, energetic, kind - and confident.
Gonzales said he attributed that to not only the course work, but also the support from each other.
“It really builds that confidence in the sense that we’re taking courses that you wouldn’t even imagine high schoolers taking at this age, or even really in college," he explained. "It's a pride because we're all a part of the Townview family."
Izaguirre said she was truly blown away, and that these students are going to make a huge difference in our world.
Ramsey echoed that, saying the kids were the most inspiring part.
"They're just really happy, really engaged and - you can tell - enjoy learning here