Blessings to you on this beautiful day!! We are halfway thru this week. Who’s pumped???
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Author, Connie T. Colon. Even better, Connie is introducing us to Principal Oliver Kidd!! Get ready to enjoy…
TODAY, WE HAVE THE PLEASURE OF INTERVIEWING EGGSHELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL’S PRINCIPAL, MR. OLIVER KIDD. YOU’VE HEARD OF HIM, RIGHT? HE’S THE WORLD’S FIRST AND ONLY KID PRINCIPAL. HE’S AN 11-YEAR-OLD WHIZ, WITH A COLLEGE DEGREE AND HE’S IN CHARGE OF HIS FORMER GRADE SCHOOL. (VICE PRINCIPAL DAGGER IS NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT, BUT SIDEKICK AND SCHOOL MASCOT, CHELSEA THE CHICKEN, LOVES PRINCIPAL KIDD.)
Q: How does it feel to be an 11-year-old principal?
OK: Exhilarating, exciting, terrifying – kind of like a combination of skydiving, skiing and being on a rollercoaster all at the same time. (I’ve only actually done the rollercoaster because I’m too scared of heights to try the other two.)
Q: What success advice do you have for students?
OK: If you want to succeed at anything, you need to put the hours in to practice. To be a successful student, classwork and studying must be done regularly and often. And most importantly – READ!!! Always have a book with you – pick the genre you like – whether it’s humor, mystery, comic, sci-fi, historical, biographies – just READ!
Q: How is Eggshell Elementary different from other schools?
OK: First and foremost, is the fact that Eggshell has the world’s first and only kid principal. Everything I just said about success is achieved by me urging the staff to make learning fun. I can relate to that because I’m a kid also. We take cues from the students to see what gets them enthused. When the students are more involved with their own learning, they are much more interested. We have suggestion boxes, we use student suggested books at times, we have fun contests, student organized functions such as parades or recipes for our cafeteria. We learn by doing. Plus, because a chicken farm is behind our playground, our mascot is a chicken. You don’t know what laughter is until after you’ve been tickled by chicken feathers!
Q: is it true that Chelsea the chicken has pooped on Vice Principal Dagger’s shoes?
OK: Chelsea is usually very calm and well behaved, however, a few things ruffle her feathers. She is very loyal to me and sometimes Mr. Dagger gets angry that an 11-year-old is his boss. When he occasionally is mean to me, she might react unkindly. I believe she’s aware that pecking at someone can hurt, so she has employed the poop method to stop him in his tracks. It actually produces a nice sheen to his shoes, so some might say she’s merely shining his shoes! We like to recycle here as well, so when he tosses the chicken poop from his shoe to the bushes, it has the added benefit of being a fertilizer. (Our landscaping has been enhanced.) I’m trying to train her to use a litter box, but I don’t have much spare time these days with my principal duties. One more thing: please don’t ever pull a similar prank at your school. These actions work best in books or TV shows!
Q: What has been difficult or surprising about your job as principal?
OK: I was most surprised that some students actually dislike school! I’ve always loved it, so I’m still talking with some students to try to reverse this situation. Too many hours each week are spent at school for kids to be unhappy. I want school to be a positive experience for all of them. A difficult aspect is student safety – some of my innovative changes have posed some safety issues – they have all been addressed. (You can read about them in book #1, PRINCIPAL KIDD: School Rules) Another difficult thing is keeping my friendship with some students low-key. My best friends since kindergarten are here and it wouldn’t be fair to show any favoritism. I will bounce ideas off of them and seek their advice, but my parents still seem to have the best advice. (So, I guess it’s possible that I might learn something from Mr. Dagger, but so far, that has not been the case.)
Q: What, if anything, has been easy for you in your job?
OK: Learning all of the students’ names. I have a photographic memory, so it was easy for me to review the student files and match names to their photos.
Q: I hear you have some bully issues at Eggshell? What are you doing about it?
OK: First of all, I personally have been at the receiving end of bullies. Being a non-athletic genius book worm, I was bullied quite a bit. It stopped when I was in college, because I was with a group of other young prodigies who were in the accelerated program. Despite living through it, I will not tolerate it! I know from my psychology classes that bullies feel bad about themselves and try to “build” their self esteem by dragging others down. I need to get to the root of their problems in order to stop the cycle. There is hope for them to act better, but until that happens, they will perform community service type jobs around the school in lieu of detention. I don’t believe any grade school should have detention.
Q: What’s coming up next for Principal Kidd?
OK: Several more challenges are around the corner. Soon, you will hear the story about when I was needed to fill a spot in the staff bowling team for a championship game against a rival school. Not only am I totally inexperienced at bowling, things were made worse when I was unable to practice prior to the tournament.
Q: Were you too busy with your principal duties to practice?
OK: Nope. My parents had grounded me!
Q: Oh no! I can’t wait to read all about that. I’m sure lots of other kids have gone through something similar, wouldn’t you agree, Mr. Kidd?
OK: Definitely. Plus, I’d love to hear their stories. If you’ve ever had to practice to get onto a team – or prepare for a tournament – please tell us. Also, if you have been grounded, we’d like to hear why and what happened. (The author of my stories likes to include stuff about readers, so please enter contests on the website: http://www.conniecolon.com or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Always check with your parents or guardians first.)
Q: Any other stories we can look forward to?
OK: Plenty more. Another one in the works takes place when I initiate a school-wide genealogy project. While researching my family tree, word gets spread that I’m related to the villainous pirate, Captain Kidd.
Q: That sounds like a fun story, Principal Kidd. Did you have a problem with that?
OK: Yes – there was a mutiny at Eggshell Elementary!
Q: Oh my – I can’t wait to read all about it! Thank you so much for this interview. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
OK: This was fun, thank you for interviewing me! I would really love to know what readers would do if they were to become principal at their school. Miss Connie is doing a fun contest where the winner will get acknowledged in an upcoming book – and win fun stuff – such as an autographed copy. ALSO – Is your principal brave enough to wear a chicken suit? We love to do dress-up and act out parts of the book at school visits. Nominate your school or principal and you could become a special helper during an author visit. ALSO – IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR ME, SEND THEM IN!
HAVE A GREAT SCHOOL YEAR AND AS ALWAYS – HAPPY READING!!!!
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A graduate of Syracuse University and former advertising executive, Connie has a degree in art but now also paints with her words. She had the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with award winning author, Jerry Spinelli at the Highlights Workshop in Chautauqua. An active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Connie had served as a Committee Member for the NJ Chapter.
She has sold over 60 articles and over 100 photos to publications including Highlights, Fun For Kidz, AppleSeeds, and Faces. Her ongoing feature “Dear Tommy” had run in Faces magazine for over seven years. Connie occasionally teaches magazine writing workshops at SCBWI events and loves to visit schools. She recently released PRINCIPAL KIDD: School Rules Book #1 which is a humorous chapter book series based on one of her animation concepts.
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Until next time…………………………………Stay creative!!