The annual Principal For a Day event is scheduled for Wednesday, March 13 at 40 schools throughout the Santa Maria Valley.  This is an opportunity for Chamber members to shadow a principal for the morning at a school campus to learn more about the challenges facing educators.  The educators, in turn, receive input from business leaders about their own perspective on the “business of education.”  The Principal For a Day program has been a valuable activity to help connect the business and education communities, and is cosponsored by the Santa Maria Valley Industry Education Council (SMVIEC) and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor and Convention Bureau.

Reservations for school sites are made on a first come, first served basis.  To sign up, fill out this form and submit to Peggy Greer, SMVIEC Liaison, at 349-0443 or  Participants will be sent a confirmation letter plus school information and maps.

After the morning at your assigned school, there will be a follow-up luncheon held at the Elks Lodge at noon. You must register for the luncheon separately with the Chamber of Commerce. Registration can be made online by clicking here or you can contact Marcy Lariz at or (805) 925-2403 x816.

When asked what most surprised our business participants last year, we received the following comments:

How improved the school was, and the great learning environment for students.

The challenges that educators face in teaching students.

The enrollment had increased greatly over the last year but everything seemed to be working smoothly.

I was surprised that running a school was so much like running a business.

Participants were also asked what they felt the greatest needs were at the school:

Funding, facilities and teachers.  There were too many students per classroom, and renovations were needed.

More staffing to reduce class size, more library and tutoring hours, and programs for music and art.

More parent support and involvement.

Funding for library books and school psychologist.

School principals were also asked to comment on what seemed to have the greatest impact on the business leader:

A student success team meeting with teachers, administrators, psychiatric services and family members who were all working together to help one student.

The complexity of the principal’s job and the number of people he coaches and supervises.

The different activities that took place in just a half day at a junior high school.

Talking with students!

School principals said the most important thing they learned about was:

I was so pleased to find that the business community is interested in helping schools.

My guest was genuinely curious about many aspects of a principal’s job–not just the budget challenges.

As you can see, the Principal For a Day activity offers a unique perspective on public education.  We hope you will come see what is new and exciting in education as we work with tomorrow’s workforce.  We look forward to seeing you on March 13!