Students today, Innovators tomorrow: Learning the importance of education as principal for a day

By: Patrick Fariss

For the last 17 years, Wesley Pittman arrived early at the campus of Frank D. Moates Elementary school. Many times as the first one there and the last one to leave, Mr. Pittman has dedicated the last two decades to teachers and students in DeSoto, Texas. In a school environment where change and uncertainty are the norm, one thing remains constant— his tireless leadership to this school.

TI AvatarRecently, I had the opportunity to shadow Mr. Pittman and serve as principal for a day at Moates Elementary.  I wanted to volunteer to show support and appreciation for our local teachers and leaders. My goal in the Principal-for-a-Day program was to encourage teachers and leaders in their jobs, and to inspire the students. These students are the future of our society, and I wanted to help them realize their potential.

Little did I know when I accepted this opportunity, I would be assigned the very same elementary school my wife attended 25 years ago.  Although the school has changed much since those days, one steady variable is the difference made daily in the lives of students. In a short time, I observed the many different roles a school principal assumes – leader, encourager, mentor, disciplinarian, coach and friend. Even more so, I saw the profound impact teachers and administrators have on children and came to understand firsthand the importance of strong leadership in and outside of schools.  

As principal for a day, I had the opportunity to accompany Mr. Pittman on his regular classroom walk-throughs. It was obvious to me that he has created a culture that reflects his character. The teachers know their leader on a personal level and appreciate his commitment to their personal success and the success of their students.

After spending a day as a principal, I’m thankful for leaders like Mr. Pittman and for all of our teachers who make a difference. From physical education coaches to librarians, these teachers work tirelessly to help their students realize their full potential.

As a former teacher, I know firsthand that education opens doors. When a teacher invests in a student, that student begins to see a future filled with possibilities; it does not happen by accident. Because of intentional leaders like Wesley Pittman, our children have an opportunity and an environment in which they can excel.

Now that I work for TI, I understand not only the importance of education but also the necessity. The future of our business depends on our younger generations. These students are our future, and leaders like Mr. Pittman give me hope that our students of today will be strong innovators and leaders of tomorrow.