For the Love of Learning

For the Love of Learning

A Year in the Life of a School Principal

Kristin Phillips


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For parents, teachers, and everyone who remembers being a student, an unforgettable glimpse into the inner workings of school, from a life-long educator.

Children spend most of their waking hours in school, exploring boundaries, forming important relationships, and of course, learning. But as you step into the unique vantage of the principal’s office, you experience first-hand the wide range of characters, efforts, and decisions that ensure all students thrive.

Kristin Phillips takes us through a school year, from the excitement of fall, through the long days of winter, and into the renewed energy that comes with spring. Through her eyes, we experience the increasingly complex education system: students with unique learning needs, teachers bringing their practice into the 21st century, and the parent-partners who have entrusted their children to the school system.

Myles, a precocious five-year-old, introduces himself by swearing a blue streak on the first day of school. He finds solace in a paper box rocket ship in Phillips’s office. Rafi, a grade 8 boy oozing with attitude, makes a very uncool choice to lunch with the principal. And Harriet, a struggling teacher, is oblivious to the fact her students are bored to tears. Throughout the story, Phillips develops caring relationships with the people who need her the most, as she works with colleagues to create an environment where everyone succeeds.

But principals are people, too, and Phillips also recounts the demands on her as a single mother with three teenagers, one of whom suffers from significant mental health issues. As an educator, she tries to help students coping with similar problems and reveals a heartfelt story of dealing with the system, from both sides.

With honesty and compassion, Phillips gives a human face to the joys of school, and the very real difficulties educators work to overcome, one year and one student at a time.


Kristin Phillips:
Kristin Phillips is an educator and retired elementary school principal with a passion for educational change. She has worked closely with teachers and administrators at the school and board levels to bring about pedagogical reforms based on current research and practices. Her blog, Edubits, is read internationally. A TEDx talk, Spiraling the Curriculum, presented in 2016 in Kitchener, Ontario, engages the audience in learning how to develop curriculum that “sticks.” She is close to her three adult children and they still enjoy pizza on Friday nights. She lives in Toronto, Ontario. Visit her online at