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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Newbury Park

Visitors Learn What It's Like as Principal

March 22, 2000|CHRIS G. DENINA

Real estate agent Paul DuRoss spent 20 minutes Tuesday morning directing traffic at Banyan Elementary School in Newbury Park, waving through sport utility vehicles, children on bicycles and parents walking their children to school.

Financial advisor Elad Goren sat watching fourth-graders at Acacia Elementary School plan their own mock business selling pencil holders made of toilet paper rolls and ice cream sticks.

DuRoss and Goren were part of the Principal for a Day program that brought 31 business and community members to public and private schools across Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park. The idea behind the program was to get the community more involved in neighborhood schools, officials said.

The program matched up Thousand Oaks Mayor Dennis Gillette with Westlake High School and Domino's Pizza franchise owner Jill Lederer with Madrona Elementary School in Thousand Oaks.

For half a day, visitors shadowed the real principals as they performed their regular duties. Karen Brill, a manager at Dole Food Co. in Westlake Village, dropped by Walnut Elementary School in Newbury Park.

"It's a rapid-fire environment," said Brill, 37. "The whole three hours was boom, boom, boom. Whether it was nurturing somebody who needed some extra TLC or someone who needed disciplinary action to dealing with floor plans for playground equipment or dealing with food service people, I was blown away."

She was most impressed by how calmly Principal Shiela Carlson handled a visit from a boy who had been arguing with a classmate. He brought an apology note, Carlson asked him if he had learned his lesson, and then he was on his way, Brill said.

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