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Filling the shoes of a principal

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

NORCROSS -- State Rep. Pedro Marin donned a name tag Wednesday reflecting his new job title: principal at Summerour Middle School.

Make that Principal for a Day.

Marin, D-Duluth, was one of 121 business and community leaders who participated in the sixth annual Principal for a Day program, a joint venture of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and Gwinnett County Public Schools.

"This is great that the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and the Gwinnett County school system have joined to bring us to be in the shoes of a principal, at least for a day," Marin said. "This really educates me about what they are doing with kids at school."

Marin greeted students as they arrived at the Norcross school, visited several classrooms to see teaching and learning in action, and talked to some students about his role as a legislator.

"We're going through some tough, tough times," Marin told a seventh-grade social studies class, referring to the economic collapse that has plagued the state budget. "But we want to make sure you get a quality education and that we provide quality teachers to make sure you get a quality education."

"Rep. Marin's participation meant a great deal to our school, our teachers and our students," said Dorothy Parker-Jarrett, principal of Summerour Middle School.

Demming Bass, the vice president of marketing and public policy at the Gwinnett Chamber, said he thinks it's more important now than ever to build individual, strategic partnerships with business leaders and school leaders.

"The more they interact, the more school leaders will know how to integrate curriculum to fit the needs of a future workforce," Bass said. "... For business leaders, (participating in the program) shatters stereotypes or perceptions they may have had about school."

Jorge Quintana, spokesman for the school system, said the Principal for a Day program, which takes place during American Education Week, is something schools look forward to every year.

"It presents us with the opportunity to teach others about the work that goes on in our schools as we educate the children that will become Gwinnett's leaders of tomorrow," he said.