by Bonnie Butcher

Since earning his master’s degree in educational leadership from University of West Georgia in 2008, Stan McMichael has been doing big things. He is passionate about education, which has set him a step above the rest in his field. His commitment and enthusiasm has attributed to being selected as the 2015 National Association of Elementary Principals’ National Outstanding Elementary Assistant Principal of the Year. Stan is currently an assistant principal at Western Elementary School in Coweta County. Stan McMichael

Stan’s education at UWG provided him with the tools to grow as an educator as well as a person.

“Professors at UWG promote self-reflection and the development of metacognition,” Stan said. “Thinking about our beliefs and why we have them, while not easy, is important to understanding ourselves and others better. UWG helped me become better at self-examination, so that when pressed with difficult situations, the ability to think deeper and from other perspectives is in place.”

Stan has been so successful in part because he goes above and beyond his job title. At school he is assistant principal, in addition to a mentor and friend. Stan believes that elementary school is a critical part of children’s lives, a molding of their educational self. He strives to better each student’s experience by going the extra mile each day at school.

Stan makes it a point to “do rounds” each morning, checking in with students and teachers about their day and what they are learning. He even knows all the names of his 408 students.

“I show them I care and encourage them to reach higher,” Stan said. “If we inspire hope in our young students and give them opportunities for success, then we have done our job, and that is a rewarding feeling.”

Stan’s influence on his students’ lives begins when they are young, but often lasts a lifetime. Students’ parents often thank him for his involvement with their children.

“I believe that elementary school is a critical entry point for students who are deciding whether to love or hate school,” Stan said. “One of my personal missions is to see that students are enjoying, even cherishing, their school days so that they start their learning careers on a positive note.”

Among his accomplishments, Stan has worked through many trials and errors to become a Google Certified Educator. He uses this application to education to cultivate an interactive learning environment for his students. He is able to use Google products for enhanced learning and communication among teachers and students at Western Elementary School and throughout the country. Stan currently seeks earning a Virtual Online Learning Certification to promote his professional growth.

Although Stan has many successes through awards and certificates, his definition of success is more personal.

“I consider a day successful if I accomplish important tasks that will benefit our students, parents, and teachers,” he said. “To me success is about setting and accomplishing goals. Efficiently handling problems and making progress on goals to make our school a better learning environment is how I define success.”

After being on many sides of the educational spectrum, Stan’s experiences have led him to keen insights. If he could give any advice to UWG students, he said, “Read, read, read, and then read some more!

Find your energy and your passion for the profession and go for it! Get in a ‘growth mindset’ and know that you have much to learn and that you will make mistakes. It’s okay. Find one to three mentors to help you through and become better at what you do.”

In addition to his wisdom for students, Stan also offers encouragement for those working in education: “Remain a lifelong learner and someone eager to try new things. Read, learn, and share,” he said. “Take on the mindset of a scholar who is constantly stimulated by learning. This will benefit the quality of your life, make you a better administrator, and help improve the learning culture of your school.”

Posted on 10/16/2015