Do You Remember Your First 12 Months As Principal?

Following a 17-year teaching career, Mia Cochrae had just accepted a Principal position.

Confident and optimistic, she would later understand how naive she was.

She was a child of immigrants. She was the first in her family that went to college.
She was also the first to become a teacher and now take a leadership role.

It hadn’t been easy.
She’d made difficult compromises - sacrificing time with her kids and husband.
She had no regrets.

Her two main challenges as a new Principal?
Reversing a terrible enrollment trend and reenergizing her teaching staff.


The first 12 months ended up being a rollercoaster.

1. First came the staff politics. Others had wanted her position.

2. Then, she focused on re-energizing her team.
She made a personalized growth plan for each teacher and staff member, but nobody would budge. Nobody wanted to change their routine.
Every night, she would call Joshua, her mentor, practically crying over the phone.

Josh got onto a train and traveled down to Savanah. They spent the whole weekend going over ways to overcome her staff’s pushback.

There was lot’s of brainstorming, designing, and creating a system.
“Four months in, it is a system that simply works; it can certainly be improved, but it is a solid foundation.”
She was ready to jump into her enrollment strategy when Irma came along...
The gym flooded in less than 24 hrs. Enrollment would have to wait.  Mia needed to fundraise fast.

But…It turned out that Irma was a blessing in disguise...
No one was hurt, and Mia can now crowdfund like a professional.
Three years later, her school not only had a revamped gym but also four new classrooms. She uses this story every year to inspire her students on the power of resourcefulness.

“Necessity begets ingenuity,” she says...