Last month, Principal Kelly Hussey of Morris Community High School lost his job, but it was just for one day.
Morris High School participated in the Illinois State Board of Education’s Principal for a Day program and invited both Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, and state Rep. Pam Roth, R-Morris, to participate.
“It was an opportunity for government to see and experience education,” Hussey said.
The Principal for a Day program was started by the Illinois State Board of Education as part of Principal’s Appreciation Week. Principal’s Appreciation Week ran from Oct. 22 through Oct. 26.
On Oct. 22, Rezin attended, and on Oct. 26 Roth. The legislators spent time with Hussey learning about his position and how the district is dealing with changing regulations and funding issues. They also spent time in numerous classrooms with the students.
“It was a neat thing for me because it was an opportunity to interact, talk about education, answer their questions and hear from their perspective the updates from the capital on controversial issues with education, funding, pensions, and on support for state mandates,” said Hussey.
Roth said she visited about six classrooms on her designated day and truly appreciated watching the students interact with their teachers.
While visiting Taylor Lafond’s Health class, she was intrigued by the experiment Lafond showed the students demonstrating how much sugar is in one can of Mountain Dew. She ended up pouring 22 sugar packets into a cup, said Roth.
“To see how they were so engaged was really neat,” Roth said.
Junior Grant Schluntz said Roth discussed with them such topics as gun control and standardized testing.
“She took a major pay cut (to become state representative) because she felt she needed to exercise her right,” he said.
Hussey said both legislators were given tours, as well as demonstrations on how the district incorporates technology into curriculum.
The students asked great questions, said Hussey, such as why they should vote for Roth or Rezin, how to obtain a political position, what their qualifications were, and how they balance family and work.
“They didn’t take a political stand. They tried to take an objective stance on where we are with the state,” Hussey said.
With the funding cuts from the state, Rezin said she appreciated getting to see with her own eyes how the district is dealing with the funding cuts.
“The administration is doing a good job moving forward ... I think they’re doing a good job with less funding,” she said.
“I enjoyed meeting with the students and with the teachers,” she continued.
Hussey said he plans to make the Principal of the Day program an annual one at Morris High School. In fact, he hopes to expand it and invite local government officials as well, he said.