"It seems like the school has shrunk a little bit. Either that, or I’ve gotten a little bit bigger," said Sherman Police Department Sgt. D.M. Hampton of returning to his childhood elementary school as its honorary principal for a day Friday. The Principal-For-a-Day Program was coordinated by Sherman Independent School District through its Partners in Education program.

"It seems like the school has shrunk a little bit. Either that, or I’ve gotten a little bit bigger," said Sherman Police Department Sgt. D.M. Hampton of returning to his childhood elementary school as its honorary principal for a day Friday. The Principal-For-a-Day Program was coordinated by Sherman Independent School District through its Partners in Education program.


"We get an honorary principal to each of our 12 campuses," Partners in Education Director Julie Mitchell said. "We try to cover all the different businesses or entities, a variety of organizations."


Mitchell said this is the second year the district has hosted the event. "We just wanted to invite community leaders to visit our schools and see the great things we’re doing there, to be able to showcase the different programs we’re doing," she said.


Hampton said returning to Fairview as a former Falcon was "just by the luck of the draw. It’s the same school I went to for elementary school growing up here in Sherman, so it was a really neat experience. … It still smells the same and everything over there. It was a lot of fun being in the old school I used to go to."


The school treated Hampton to a production of sorts. "They’re actually teaching through music about grammar and things like that, in song, so we got to go into the choir classrooms, and they actually did a performance for us. It was awesome," he said.


Fairview staff took advantage of SPD Public Information Officer Hampton’s comfort with public speaking during his brief tenure as principal: "I needed to speak to some of the fourth graders about setting goals, because they’re looking at some of the STAAR tests coming up. … I came up with some ideas for them about making visual goals for themselves. … I got to read to a kindergarten class. That was cool. The kids seemed to like that, and they got to see something besides what we do out there in the street, arresting people or writing tickets. They got to see an officer come in and actually read to them, so that’s cool."


The police sergeant didn’t have to deal with any behavioral problems and said he was especially impressed by the polite demeanor of the students. "The staff over there is amazing. They do an excellent job over there, very well-behaved students."


Mitchell said one of the primary goals of the honorary principal program was to show local education partners "how well-behaved our students are, how polite, and respectful, and how hard everybody works to make sure the kids are prepared to move on to the next chapter, the next grade, so we really heard a lot of positive things."


She said that none of the District’s 12 campuses reported any disciplinary problems during the guest principals’ service. Texoma Council of Governments Executive Director Susan Thomas was invited to be the guest principal of Sory Elementary. If Thomas’ and Hampton’s testimonies are any indication, Mitchell’s goal was achieved. Thomas called Sory students’ behavior "shockingly polite."


"It was the coolest experience I’ve had in a long, long time," Thomas said. "I had an absolute blast." Like Hampton, Thomas was also taken with the school’s showcase of its arts programs.


"It wasn’t just about what the principal did, we did some of the announcements and things like that together, but we also walked through the halls and talked about the school," she said. "I was blown away by the attention to detail. I was impressed with the emphasis on art and music, and I was really impressed by the tone set by (the staff) there."


The District’s goal of engaging community leaders seemed to be a hit with Thomas. "I think this is a great program, and I have to commend Dr. (Al) Hambrick, (superintendent,) on his effort to bring the community into the schools," she said. "Elementary school is much more sophisticated and much more challenging than I thought."