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10 Minutes with…Gwedette Crummie

  Principal, Crozet Elementary School
Local Assn.:  Albemarle Education Association    
Years worked in education:  26
What is a typical school day like for you?
A typical day starts at Parent Drop-off at 7:45 a.m. on the side of the building to open car doors, help students into the building, and meet and greet parents with a “Good morning” and “Have a nice day!” Then I walk back into the building and stop in every classroom to wish the teachers and students a good morning.  Some days I try to stop and join in a morning meeting with a class and be a part of the greeting, activity and sharing time.  I head to my office and check my voice messages, calendar, e-mails and the activities for the day. After getting caught up, I head out to classrooms, talk to students and attend grade-level professional learning meetings throughout the school day. I have lunch duty (great time to get to know students – hilarious stories). The day ends as it began, with Parent Pick-up duty to open car doors, help students into cars and wish them a good afternoon. Then I walk to the front of the building to wave at the buses as they’re dismissed and address any problems. Depending on the day, the afternoon ends with SBITs, parent conferences and meetings.

What do you like about your job?
Three areas of my job bring me the most joy. One is the students—I truly love them. Two, I enjoy checking in with staff members every day. Three, in a broader view, I love this opportunity to make a difference in a school community, to put students first, to stretch ourselves to grow professionally, and to keep up with the changing times and complexities of our young people and their families.

What is hard about your job?
The hardest part of my job is trying to be sure that I’m making the best decision possible for students; there’s also the politics that come with this position. I see being a principal as a position of service—to lead means serving all. It’s a challenge.

What are some of the most fun and unusual things that have happened on the job?
The most fun things have been classroom activities, spirit days, school activities and PTO community-building events. I had a ball with our Jump Rope for Heart with students this year.  (Of course, I couldn’t move the next day.) Our fourth grade had a weather museum, and I learned a lot about the subject. I was the student:  I did experiments, played games and took quizzes they created. During Read Across America, the second-graders camped outside and read books in tents – so cool! The first-graders made ice cream to learn about solids, liquids and gases. Our fifth-graders used digital fabrication to learn about cubes, infused with the study of art sculptures. Every Friday during lunch, we have a variety show where students can share their talents—singing, dancing, acting or telling jokes. It’s hilarious! The unusual things are the “kid stories.” “Kids say the Darnest things” is so true. I was telling a student how beautiful her hair was. She said I could have it too – just go buy it in a bag.

How has being an Association member been helpful to you?
It’s great to be kept informed as an education professional and to have the advice and support of our AEA representative. I read my VEA magazine every month and try to stay on top of educational trends and issues in the state. The best thing is knowing that there is an Association out there fighting the good fight, carrying the torch for us, and looking out for our best interest. 


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