Q&A with principal Tobie Waldeck
The JagWire sat down with Waldeck to learn about his leadership style
JagWire: Can you tell me about where you went to school?
Principal Tobie Waldeck: I went to the Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences in Kansas City, Kansas for high school.I wrestled at Fort Hays State University for a short time, then I transfered to Emporia State University.
JW: What is one thing you try to do every day to help this school?
TW: I would say that I try to be the same person every single day, so that kids and teachers know what exactly they are going to get when they walk through that door. That is the reason for example: that I wear a shirt and tie every day no matter what, [even] if it is a dress-down day,
JW: What is your favorite part about being principal?
TW: I would say probably joking around with students. I enjoy doing that, as long as they understand that I am joking.
JW: What is your least favorite part about being principal?
TW: Contrary to popular belief, I do not enjoy applying consequences to students that have earned consequences, especially serious consequences. That is not something I enjoy. I worry about it, take it home with me and it bothers me.
JW: What was your job before you became a principal?
TW: This is my ninth year as a principal for Mill Valley. I was the principal at Monticello Trails Middle School for six, which is next door. I was the assistant principal at Monticello Trails for four. I taught at DeSoto high school as a math teacher and a coach for ten years, and I have one year outside the district. So, this is my thirtieth year in education. Before that, as a college student, [I was] everything from a forklift operator to you name it.
JW: After attending college, what made you decide to become an educator?
TW: That decision was made during college, it was my sophomore year. For extra cash, I was tutoring high school students at Emporia High School in the area of Algebra II. One particular student was visually impaired. While teaching her, I kind of realized that I had a knack for it and I continued tutoring other students and I enjoyed that. I also enjoyed the idea of potentially coaching sports that I loved, like wrestling, that I had participated in all my life, and football and etc.
JW: Do you believe people are born leaders or made to be leaders and why?
TW: I think everybody can be a leader, I think that there are just different types. People can be leaders.
JW: How do you balance your work life and home life?
TW: You need to be able to leave stuff on your desk and go home; as long as you are not going to get into trouble, or somebody is not counting on [your work] the next day. You have to be able to leave work at work and go home. That is hard to do, especially, as I said earlier, if you consequence a student and it bothers you. It is hard to just leave it at here because it is real life, you are affecting a person.
JW: If there was advice you could give every young leader in the school what would it be?
TW: I would say be yourself and do your best to do what’s right.
JW: How is working with teenagers and kids affected your life?
TW: Working in a school does keep you younger, so to speak. There are some things that just crack me up about kids, and just some of the things they come up with or things they say. I would have to say when it comes graduation time, you get a little bit teary eyed when those kids leave. That is pretty tough, I’ve enjoyed working with kids.