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A Day In the Life of a K-12 Principal
A Day In the Life of a K-12 Principal
Brooklyn Friederick
Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The alarm beeps. It’s 5:32 am. Mike Uppena, principal of Potosi School, rolls over and hits the snooze button. It’s his first step to start his day.

Once the second alarm goes off, Mr. Uppena gets up and heads to school for a morning workout. By 6:30, he is showered and ready for driver’s ed. “I normally drive 4-5 mornings a week, especially during basketball season.” Right now, because of Covid, he can only take one kid out at a time, so he needs to drive with kids more often. Mr. Uppena takes students to Platteville, Lancaster, Cassville, around Potosi, and Dickeyville for driver’s education.  

Once Mr. Uppena pulls back into the parking lot, he meets the buses as they unload. “I normally greet kids from the buses and go down to the high school end to say hi.” Today, Mr. Uppena puts down some salt because it was slippery on the sidewalk by the busses, and mops up muddy and wet footprints that were tracked into school. At 7:55, the bell rings to start the school day. He heads up to the elementary and pops his head into classrooms to greet the kids. 

After he makes it back from the elementary, it is time to check his emails. “I get around 120 emails a day, so it can take me quite a while to get through them all.” Mr. Uppena's biggest two words to describe his daily job were “it depends”. Today, he spends time helping with the trap team, preparing the D/F list, and having a Zoom meeting. 

It’s noon, which means time for recess duty. Mr. Uppena takes the 2nd and 3rd graders out for recess for 30 minutes and then supervises middle school lunch. “It depends on the day, but sometimes I do not get lunch. When I do, I’ll eat a salad from school or go to the Pump and Go and grab something.” 

When lunch is done, Mr. Uppena goes back to the same routine as the morning. “I just make laps around the building. Students are the number one priority.” Right now, Mr. Uppena is working on summer school scheduling and scheduling for the spring. He also checks and responds to more emails, sits in on meetings, and meets with students. On Wednesdays, when the kids get out at 1:30, he spends his time in staff meetings. 

After school, Mr. Uppena is very busy because he is also the head basketball coach. On days that he has practice, he is in the gym by 3:30 for practice. When practice is over, if his work is not done from school, he heads back up to his office and finishes his work before he goes home. 

Mr. Uppena normally gets home around 5:00 or 5:30. He enjoys time fishing, hunting, and doing anything outside, so if it is nice outside when he gets home, he goes outside. If it snowed the previous night, that is when he shovels the snow from the driveway. Mr. Uppena is also on supper duty sometimes, and makes his famous chili. “My kids like most of the food I cook.” After dinner, he relaxes and watches his favorite sports teams until it is time for bed. At around 10:30, he goes to bed and gets ready to do it all over again the next day.