Principal for the Day is a nation-wide program that offers a unique hands-on opportunity to appreciate both the strengths and challenges of Sumter School District and to give our schools the opportunity to forge relationships with the community. We kicked off this program in 2011 and gave leaders in our community the opportunity to walk a mile in the shoes of a principal. The program, which is in its sixth year of implementation, has continued to flourish.


  • Inviting community leaders to shadow a principal for a day is a concept designed to help participants understand the rewards and rigors of the principalship.
  • PFTD programs have resulted in appreciation and respect for schools, teachers, and principals, and they have built lasting public relations benefits.
  • Guests are usually astounded by the dedication and motivation of the principal and staff, the students’ eagerness to learn, the good discipline, the enormous number of services schools offer, and the many needs most schools still have.


Who do you invite?                                                                                                     

Select people who well-established citizens with influence. These individuals are the ones who can spread the good word about your school, influence education legislation, or help bring more and better resources to your school. Begin with the invitation process at least one to two months in advance.

  • Legislators
  • Business Leaders
  • Local Politicians
  • Non-profit Association Leaders
  • Service Club Members
  • Journalists
  • Members of the Faith Community
  • Community Partners
  • Realtors
  • Military



  • Start with a phone call.
  • Follow up with a letter that contains clear objectives and time lines.
  • Learn as much about your guest as possible.
  • Is he or she supportive of public education?
  • Has he been involved in schools recently or at all?
  • Does she have children in public schools?
  • For legislators—how have they voted on education issues?
  • Make the PFTD feel special.
  • Ask what specifics he or she would like to see.
  • Let the day unfold naturally.
  • Don’t shield the PFTD from problems or emergencies either.
  • Relax and be yourself.
  • Students, staff, and parents should be aware of this visit.
  • Include parents and staff in the planning of Principal for the Day.
  • Highlight the visit before and after in your newsletter or on the Web site.


Sample Activities                                                                                                                

  • Have breakfast in the cafeteria with students and/or faculty.
  • Read morning announcements or appear on school’s morning TV news.
  • Lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Read to classes.
  • Visit classrooms.
  • Meet with the Student Council.
  • Examine the school’s technology labs.
  • Attend a special activity such as band, chorus, PE demonstration.
  • Help supervise the playground.
  • Teach a lesson on his/her career.
  • Visit parent resource room and meet with parents.



  • Make sure the PFTD knows that he or she cannot participate in confidential meetings.
  • The PFTD will not issue discipline or make any decisions regarding policy.



  • Be ready for questions. It is not unusual for the PFAD to consider forming a partnership with your school after spending a day there.
  • The visit will conclude with lunch at noon at the Swan Lake Visitors Center to discuss the day’s events and get feedback from our Principals for the Day.
  • Send a thank you letter.