Michael E. Allison, who became president of NASSP July 1, has been the principal at Hopewell High School in Pennsylvania for 15 years. In this month’s questionnaire, we asked Michael to tell us about his goals as NASSP president and more.
What are your goals as president of NASSP?
Making membership a personal experience where each principal knows they matter to NASSP, their students, and the world. Implementing our strategic plan, especially as it relates to organizational vitality and advocating strongly for principals.
What’s your view of the role of the principal in education?
Principals need to be advocates for our profession. We have tremendous power when we share our voice and speak about the transformational work we do to improve education for our students.
What’s your biggest challenge as principal?
Time management-and balancing family and professional responsibilities. In addition to my duties at my high school and now serving with NASSP, I have had responsibilities with PAESSP (my state association), and the WPIAL (our regional Pennsylvania athletic league). Managing service to these organizations while maintaining high performance as a building principal and valuing the personal relationships with students and staff that are requisites for success as a principal can be quite a juggling act.
What brings a smile to your face as principal?
Watching students succeed and be engaged in their learning. There is nothing more valuable than a great teacher who motivates and engages students. And graduation is a special day. There is no greater honor for a principal that presenting diplomas and congratulating your students at graduation.
What is your favorite TV show?
My favorite television show is Blue Bloods. Frank Reagan’s leadership style is focused on getting the job done the right way and is built on personal relationships. I love watching him interact as both the police commander and as a father. He recognizes the humanity involved in leading people, and he demonstrates many skills needed by effective principals.
Who is your favorite historical figure?
Pope John Paul II is my favorite historical figure because he was able to build strong personal relationships with so many different people inside and outside the church community. He’s broken down many barriers and reached beyond the walls of Catholicism to make a difference in the world.
If you could change one big thing about education today, what would it be?
We need to recreate a nation with a respect and hunger for learning. American society would truly benefit if we could rebuild the passion that was created when President Kennedy challenged our nation to become leaders in math and science in response to the advances in the Russian space program. We need to help students develop the skills and abilities to face academic challenges with grit and resiliency.