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Roller king becomes 'Principal for a Day'

Roseville Chamber of Commerce hosts annual event, intended to build partnerships between business and education communities
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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David Jacques has been a competitive roller skater for nearly 25 years. He’s taken home the gold medal as the World Class Men’s Singles champion, a bronze in open free dance and he skated in the World Championships in Australia a few years ago. Jacques currently operates his family’s business, Roller King Skating and Blading in Roseville. But on Tuesday, the 31-year-old prepared himself for a new test: Principal of a middle school. This challenge, though, would only exist for about four hours, as Jacques participated in the Roseville Chamber of Commerce’s 20th-annual “Principal for a Day” event. He served as “principal” of Warren T. Eich Intermediate School. “I thought I’d give it a shot,” Jacques said. The event, organized by the chamber’s Business, Educators and Community Organized to Maximize Education committee, or BECOME, is intended to facilitate a greater understanding of education in the local business world. Eich’s real principal Chris Hudson said schools benefit in the process. “You always meet such exciting people,” she said. “We learn a lot and it’s fun to get business leaders here. We’re trying to bring the education to the community.” In 1990, BECOME formed as a partnership of business, community organizations and five area school districts, including the Roseville City School District, Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District, Eureka Union School District, Roseville Joint Union High School District and Center Joint Unified School District. On Tuesday, the chamber organized 41 local business members to walk in the shoes of a principal and learn how the career field has changed, observe how administrators organize their day, promote school accountability and see what it takes to lead a successful school. “In the business community, we know people move here (partly) because of the quality of education that Roseville and Granite Bay have to offer,” said Roseville Chamber CEO Wendy Gerig. “The stronger partnerships we can build between schools and businesses, we’ll all reap the benefits of.” She noted the example of John Adams of Sierra Nursery who acted as “principal” of Greenhills Elementary School, where students are growing a garden. This one-day relationship might eventually blossom into a long-term, fruitful partnership. Kim Bruns of Byers Gymnastics Center, Michael Murphy of Northwind Property Management, Clark Rupp of Straw Hat Pizza, Rhonda Kenny of Roseville Home Start and Tim Dotson of Surewest were among the other business leaders who participated. Jacques’s day at Eich Intermediate School began with a discussion with Vice Principal Brandon Beadle about the school’s discipline policies. Next, Beadle led the “principal” on a tour of the campus, pointing out the weight room, outdoor fitness equipment, gym and track. “I’m very important on this one day,” Jacques said with a laugh. Teenagers came pouring out of the gym and ran past Jacques who dodged out of their way. Hudson, who is in her fifth year as principal of Eich, told Jacques how the school stresses physical education. “Our P.E. teachers have a rigorous program,” she said. “Fitness is not taken lightly here.” Jacques knows plenty about the importance of physical activity. He began roller-skating in 1983, when he was 4 years old. His parents, Michael and Pat Jacques, act as his coaches and owners of Roller King on Riverside Avenue. The family has owned and operated the business since 1977. Next Hudson led the new “principal” on a classroom tour, stopping in on a science class where students learned about density from a teacher showing the difference between a floating can of Diet Coke and sinking can of regular Coke — about 10 teaspoons of sugar. Another science class featured a SMART Board, an interactive teaching tool, Hudson said, which offers a better visual demonstration than transparencies. She talked about dynamic teaching styles and ways to engage students. As Hudson and Jacques walked the halls, the school’s award-winning marching band practiced in the background. “They’re probably all really good at that Rock Band (video) game,” Jacques said, smiling. The pair checked out a GATE language arts class — for academically gifted students — as the teacher conducted an exercise about symbolism, before heading over to a social studies class where students learned about African proverbs. “I want to be in the classrooms where the students are,” Hudson said. “I feel to be a good principal that’s what you’ve got to do.” As for Jacques, this business leader later said the event opened his eyes to issues surrounding education. “I don’t have kids,” he said. “I never really thought about school from outside a student perspective. It was interesting to see it from an administrative side.” Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com.