October is National Principals Month and A+ Education Partnership is recognizing a representative sample of our many great principals across Alabama. Watch for profiles all this month.
Veronica Wells Coleman is a 22-year educator and a graduate of the University of Mobile and the University of South Alabama, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and her leadership certifications. Before assuming the principalship at Chastang-Fournier in 2017, Veronica was principal at Collins-Rhodes Elementary – which was named a high-poverty, high-performing Torchbearer School under her leadership.
How long have you been a principal?
I’m beginning my 12th year.
Briefly describe your education journey.
My education journey started in primary, where I taught first grade for seven years. I then became an achievement specialist for 2 years, an assistant principal for 1 year, and I have now been a principal in Mobile County schools for a dozen years. I came to Chastang-Fournier in 2017 and I’m having my first middle school experience!
What are 2-3 insights you would share with others who want to become principals?
The two insights I want to share with others who are thinking they might want to be a principal: (1) Understand that being a principal is a calling, not a job or title! And (2) always take time to relax. It may seem that you are just too busy, but it’s important for yourself and for your loved ones.
What keeps you up at night and what gets you out of bed in the morning?
The one thing that keeps me up at night is planning for the next day! The fact that I wake up still in my right mind (smile) gets me out the bed, because God has given me another chance to help someone else.
What is your favorite leadership book (or books)?
My favorite leadership books are Jim Knight’s Unmistakable Impact and Leading Learning Communities: Standards for What Principals Should Know and Be Able to Do. This book comes from the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and has been updated several times. It’s an anchor guide. (Read the executive summary here.)
What are 2-3 essential skills that all leaders should possess?
The two essential skills that all leaders must possess are (1) The ability to listen and (2) The ability to communicate.
In what ways do you network with other educators outside your school?
I network with other educators during our school district meetings, through the A+ Key Leaders Network, and through my membership with professional organizations such as CLAS, AAESA, and NAESP.
How do you create opportunities for your own professional learning?
I create opportunities for my own professional learning by always participating in professional organizations and by applying to participate in national administrative programs that will keep me abreast with current trends in education.