October is National Principals Month, and we’re introducing you to our building principals with a short Q&A. Karen Brockley leads Sackett Educational Center in Castleton, as well as our district-based classes at Red Mill Elementary School in East Greenbush and Maple Hill Middle School in Schodack.
Tell us about your “road to becoming a principal” – how did you end up in this role?
I was fortunate that when I graduated with my master’s degree I was able to get a job teaching Special Education at Guilderland High School. After a few years of teaching, a friend of mine came up with the idea to go back to school to get our administrative degrees. After taking one class and getting encouragement from my hall principal, I realized it was exactly what I wanted to do. I was lucky to have such great support throughout the program and met so many people that helped lead me to Questar III.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Without a doubt the best part of the job is watching the students grow. There is such a progression of growth not just academically, but also emotionally and socially. As a principal you get to spend time seeing their overall success as young adults. Watching them as they transition through this process day by day makes the job rewarding.
How do you know that you are making an impact on your students?
In this role you always hope that you are creating a school culture that is making an impact. Part of your role as principal is to create a place in which staff can connect with students and empower them to not only be better students, but better young adults. When you see them make positive changes, develop, and hit certain milestones that’s when you know you’ve been able to make an impact.
What is one surprising thing about your job that most people wouldn’t expect?
The one thing that people probably don’t expect is the amount of work and little things that come with the job. As a principal, you are responsible for everything that occurs throughout the day. Your day can start very early in the morning with a staff or student emergency and there is no end to the day. There are just many moving parts throughout all our programs and working with all your stakeholders is essential. When people think of principals they think about managing students, but finding the balance between that and supporting and assisting staff is just as important.
What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?
One of my favorite outlets and ways to de-stress is to workout. I’ve been going to Orangetheory Fitness for about a year and a half and it’s something I truly enjoy. I am also an avid sports fan of anything to do with the New York Yankees or the New York Rangers. I love the Saratoga Racetrack in the summer, as well as the beach, and anything in which I can be around my family and friends.