Q & A: Sean Martin on his first year as principal

Emily Bassett, Assistant News Editor

Q: How did your expectations of being principal differ from the reality?

A: I’ve been an assistant principal for the past five years, so I felt like I knew what I was getting into. I  knew the technical parts of the job, but what surprised me was the difference in title. The perception of me with my new role has changed the way that conversations go with students, staff and community.

 

Q: What has been your biggest success this year?

A: Having people realize that I haven’t turned into some tyrant with the addition of a new title. Winning people over, in a way, has been a huge success. I’m also really proud of how the school has been able to get through these trying times and come closer. This year has been so hard, but every one of those situations has helped us to become even more strong; that’s something I’m very proud of. I don’t know how much of that is actually my doing, but it’s been wonderful to be a part of.

 

Q: What has been your biggest challenge this year?

A: We’ve had a series of very difficult tragedies over the last year. Starting with right before the senior assembly last year we had a student die. Over the summer a student who had just graduated was paralyzed. Another student passed away this January, along with our beloved custodian. This year has been about helping the school to find a way to stick together and to be as stable as we possibly can. We don’t always have to be positive in horrible situations such as this, but we can at least know that we’re always there for each other.

 

Q: What do you like most about being principal?

A: One of the things I knew I’d like are the celebrations. I love graduation. I enjoyed graduating myself, but as a teacher, you’ve worked with these students and watched them grow and change over the years. They’ve accomplished so much, and they’re going on to do wonderful and amazing things. I am really excited about graduation. As a side note to that, I also enjoy if I’m the one who gets to tell students about awards. I’ll call them in, give them the certificates and say “you’re this or that!”. That’s a lot of fun to me.

 

Q: What are your hopes for next year?

A: We have been starting to examine how we do things and the way that we run this school. We haven’t rolled them out yet, but one change that I want to do is focused around student recognition – how can we celebrate progress and accomplishments of a wider variety of students? We do this in various ways – Rotary does it every month and medallions come out senior year – but that’s something that I’d like to continue to develop. I just need to accept that change is not quick, especially in education, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

 

Q: What would you like students to know about you?

A: I’m very thoughtful and attentive to any and all decisions I make, and I really want the best for you guys. Whether it’s deciding on next year’s classes or what we’re gonna invest in, any decision that I make, and I make dozens per day, my focus is always “what’s the best possible decision for the students at this school? How can I get them everything they need?” People will never agree with everything that I do, but as long as that’s the focus that I have, I hope that people would remember that even if they disagree with the decisions that I make.