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Collaborations, community supported at annual Principal for a Day luncheon
Dozens of local community leaders and school system staff gathered at the Forsyth Conference Center in south Forsyth on Tuesday to reconnect, talk and discuss the “Principal for a Day” program that recently ended.

Forsyth County Schools ended its annual “Principal for a Day” program with a luncheon celebration on Tuesday at the Forsyth Conference Center in south Forsyth.

At the lunch, local business leaders and school administrators were able to reconnect, talk and consider the business and community relationships that were forged over the last months.

This year, 40 business and community leaders from a wide spectrum of industries and areas participated in the program, spending the day at each of the county’s traditional schools.  

“’Principal for a Day’ is a great opportunity for collaboration between Forsyth County Schools and the local business community,” said Hannah Samples, who runs the yearly program. “The goal is for this to not be a one-day program but for the day of shadowing to spark a mutually beneficial partnership for the school and business.”

Through the lunch celebration, the participants and school staff heard speakers from the event’s main partners, the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) and the school system, and were led in group discussions by Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Jeff Bearden. 

Kevin McDonough, chair of the Chamber, said that for his stint as principal for a day he jumped into the shoes of Haw Creek Elementary principal June Tribble, seeing the care and love she and her staff put into their kids on a daily basis.

“I’m proud to have participated and just to be a parent with kids in that school,” McDonough said. “It really is a source of pride in the community ... Our children are in just great caring hands.” 

He said what really shocked him about the day was how well-loved Tribble was by her students, accepting hugs and high fives in the halls, addressing each student by name and generally fostering a positive attitude in the school.

“In my day, you wanted to stay as far away as you could from the principal,” McDonough said. 

Haw Creek, McDonough said, is now a place he can champion in the community with the first-hand knowledge that they are doing a good job.

“You hear so much about the academic success of our school system, but seeing it first hand is such a different, positive experience,” he said. “It moves it from an anecdotal, ‘Hey the schools are great,’ to very specific, very real, tangible experience.” 

According to representatives from CHOA who attended the event, as long as community members continue to find the program valuable like McDonough did, they will keep supporting it.  

“It’s a great partnership amongst all of the different agencies to connect business leaders with our school system,” said Laurie Cole, community development officer for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “Because we know that the future of this county and our great state relies on community involvement.”