On Friday, March 22nd, Dean Don Cardinal was Principal for the Day at Dr. Martin Luther King Elementary School in Santa Ana. His “duties” included a morning meeting with the Principal, Eleanor Rodriquez, intercom announcements, a budget meeting, classroom visitations and recess duty. The event concluded with a luncheon where board members, Superintendent, Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana and other VIPs gathered to debrief and discuss what was learned during the day.

Dean Cardinal pointed out to the luncheon attendees that he observed both the good and the bad. He compared his former visits to King Elementary by noticing there were fewer staff members due to budget cuts, much more focus on testing and the absence of music and other creative opportunities for these young students. On a positive note, Dr. Cardinal was reassured by the positive attitudes of the faculty and students. “Even under such intense pressure to perform with fewer and fewer resources to do so, I was pleasantly surprised by the smiles by all and the focus of the children and faculty to do great work.” Cardinal went on to applaud Dr. Melendez on her early adoption of the Common Core Standards and noted that this assertive posture by the new superintendent and the board could renew the joy of teaching that, at times, seems to have significantly eroded during the hyper focus on testing this past decade.

Dean Cardinal stated, “I really enjoyed the day, it served as a reminder that schools need our continual support and I will renew my efforts to be a good friend to those who invest their lives to make more bright the future of our youth.”