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Duluth High's diversity on display for Principal for a Day

Tim Hur, a local real-estate agent and new member on the GCPS Foundation Board of Directors serves as the Principal for a Day at Duluth High School in Duluth Tuesday.


Tim Hur, left, a local real-estate agent and new member on the GCPS Foundation Board of Directors who serves as the Principal for a Day at Duluth High School talks with Principal Anthony Smith in Duluth Tuesday. Schools all around the county will participate with hosting a member of the community as the Principal for a Day sometime this week. This is Hur’s third year as the Principal for a Day in a Gwinnett County school. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

Tim Hur, left, a local real-estate agent and new member on the GCPS Foundation Board of Directors who serves as the Principal for a Day at Duluth High School talks with Principal Anthony Smith in Duluth Tuesday. Schools all around the county will participate with hosting a member of the community as the Principal for a Day sometime this week. This is Hur’s third year as the Principal for a Day in a Gwinnett County school. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

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Principal for a Day - Tim Hur

Tim Hur, a local real-estate agent and new member on the GCPS Foundation Board of Directors serves as the Principal for a Day at Duluth High School in Duluth Tuesday.

Tim Hur, a local real-estate agent and new member on the GCPS Foundation Board of Directors serves as the Principal for a Day at Duluth High School in Duluth Tuesday.

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Tim Hur, center, a local real-estate agent and new member on the GCPS Foundation Board of Directors speaks to members of the Gwinnett Student Leadership team, Abhirup Ramachandiran, left, Ashima Gauba, Maria Matthews and Rebecca Graham at Duluth High School in Duluth Tuesday. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

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Tim Hur, left, serving as Principal for a Day at Duluth High School assists freshman Carina SanJuan Rosales with a math problem in Duluth Tuesday. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

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Tim Hur, a local real-estate agent and new member on the GCPS Foundation Board of Directors who serves as the Principal for a Day at Duluth High School speaks with Assistant Principal Gail Kise in Duluth Tuesday. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

DULUTH — Tim Hur’s work day began at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, but for most principals around Gwinnett, that’s about an hour late.

At least that’s the case for Duluth High Principal Anthony Smith, who answered his first phone call of the week at 5 a.m. Monday morning, and shepherded Hur around Duluth on Tuesday as part of the annual Principal for a Day program. Long days and seemingly limitless hours are synonmous with being a principal, and CEO-level leaders around Gwinnett are learning a glimpse of that this week through the partnership between the Gwinnett Chamber and Gwinnett County Public Schools.

The 10th annual Principal for a Day program is how the local school district commemorates American Education Week.

Hur and about 130 other business and community leaders are taking part in the initiative to better understand the principal’s job description, what’s new in local schools, and how to be a better advocate for schools in the community.

“There’s really a lot of work,” said Hur, CEO of International Business Accelerator and Broker and President of Point Honors and Associates. “I don’t think we give enough credit sometimes to what it is to be a principal. There’s always an expectations that public schools serves the students. But principals go beyond their call of duty to make sure the students are taken care of.”

Smith, for example, arrived at work at about 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, and following the school day, he planned to attend a school council meeting and a pair of basketball games before returning home around 11 p.m.

“We’re not in a position to count hours,” he said. “It takes a certain level of commitment, but in terms of a community aspect, we become part of our school, we become part of our community. (This program) allows our community to have an authentic view of what our school’s all about.”

What’s more, Hur said that he learned Smith does activities after hours or outside the school day that may not be sanctioned by the school district, but are for the greater good of the community.

Hur, a real estate agent and new member of the GCPS Foundation Board, met with students and teachers around Duluth High in a series of meetings including a multi-tasking lunch with Duluth’s Student Leadership Team in what Smith called a typical work day.

Leading nearly 200 staff members and 2,653 students is a lesson in planning and anticipation, but also preparing for unknowns or surprises each day.

“When I’m driving the truck into work, I’m not sure what I’m doing today,” Smith said. “It’s a balance of planning and flexibility that makes a good principal. The better we are communicating, the more confidence, credibility and trust our community has about the work we do, because we are proud of the work we do, and have some great things going on here.”

This is the third straight year that Hur has participated in the program, and he said each school demonstrates its own unique challenges and objectives, which dictates how the school should be run.

At Duluth, diversity and the arts stand out. Smith said the school is the most diverse in Gwinnett, and boasts 340 students in its orchestra, which is among the largest in the state.

Hur even said there were lessons he learned to take back to his own office.

“One of the things I’m embracing is seeing how they interact with each other,” he said. “You are as strong as your team. Everyone is close like a family here, but you can see it, you can feel it, it’s a lot more evident here.”

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