N. Carroll principal praised for organizational skills

January 25, 1995|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writer

Students at North Carroll High who want to learn about new Principal Kent W. Kreamer can find out from one of their counterparts in Westminster.

"He's not like a big, fearsome principal. He's a nice-guy principal," said David Shoffner, sophomore class president at Westminster.

Mr. Kreamer was promoted last month to lead North Carroll after 10 years as assistant at Westminster.

"I think he'll be good," David said. "He won't be too authoritarian. He'll let you have a say on things. He'll be open-minded."

That's the style Mr. Kreamer said he prefers.

"I see myself as a facilitator more than anything else," Mr. Kreamer said yesterday, on his second full day at North Carroll. He succeeds Gregory Eckles, who was promoted to director of curriculum for the county.

"I believe very strongly in empowering people closest to a situation so that they can resolve problems," Mr. Kreamer said, adding teachers are best equipped to make instructional decisions.

"Fortunately, the foundation for that has been set long before I got here," he said. "There's been a very strong School Improvement Team in place here for a number of years."

That team, with teachers, parents and administrators, has led the school into several innovative areas, including the "four-mod day." Two years ago, the school switched to a schedule of four 90-minute periods -- called mods -- a day, instead of seven 45-minute periods. Classes last one semester.

Westminster High staff had considered it, but the idea did not win the 75 percent faculty vote it needed for approval. Mr. Kreamer said the idea had appealed to him, however, because it could improve the climate for learning.

"I think having an extended period of time with the teacher allows students and teachers to get to know each other, and they have a vested interest in each other," he said.

Assistant principals usually spend more time on the logistics of running a school and meting out discipline than on instruction. Mr. Kreamer, who started his education career as a math teacher in Pennsylvania 22 years ago, said he looks forward to being more involved with instruction.

"The whole idea of restructuring is one big area the nation is looking at," Mr. Kreamer said.

The four-period day is one such example, but there are others, and schools have flexibility, he said.

"The other big thing is the school-to-work transition," he said. "We need to look at moving students from school to the world of work."

Westminster Principal Sherri-Le Bream and Peter B. McDowell, director of secondary education for Carroll Schools, both praised Mr. Kreamer's combination of qualities.

"Mr. Kreamer is extremely organized, but he's very kid-centered," Ms. Bream said. "He has the organizational skills to get through the daily tasks of running a school, but he thinks about the students and what's best for them. He also has a fantastic sense of humor."

David said he heard a teacher call Mr. Kreamer's humor "goofy," and said he was surprised to learn Mr. Kreamer had gone bungee jumping.

Mr. McDowell said principals have to be excellent communicators with everyone: parents, teachers, bus drivers and the community.

"You've got to be multitalented, and a little crazy, also, to be a high school principal these days," Mr. McDowell said.

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