Dayton student, principal trade places for a day |

Dayton student, principal trade places for a day

Teri Vance
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

When William “Nash” Allies grows up, he wants to be either a principal or a skate board designer.

On Thursday, the 11-year-old Dayton Intermediate School sixth-grader got to try one of those careers when he won the chance to serve as principal for the day.

“I was happy for it,” he said, sitting at Principal Linda Flaherty’s desk. “One, I get out of class and I get to hang out in here without being in trouble. And she’s doing my homework.”

The two changed places after a schoolwide challenge to fill out a survey that would help bring technology money to the district. From the 16 students who filled out the most questions, Nash’s name was drawn.

As he walked through the hallways, other students addressed him as “Principal Nash.”

“What’s up, principal?” one quipped.

Nash spent the morning filling out evaluations of teachers as he observed them in the classroom. He didn’t have any qualms with the role reversal.

“It was easy,” he said. “It felt like writing a regular paper for school.”

Although he sat through a mock job interview and other meetings, even writing the principal’s letter to parents, he knew there were limits on his reign.

Given full control, he said, there would be several changes at the school.

“I would not use partners in math,” he said. “Everyone would do their own and not get help. I’d probably get new textbooks, new bathrooms, new computers, a couple of new clocks. And get rid of the graffiti in the bathrooms, that’s an obvious one.”

Flaherty assumed Nash’s role, dressing in blue jeans and sneakers, and attending all of his classes.

“She’s even wearing my own sweatshirt,” Nash marveled.

Flaherty said she donned the shirt – which may have been the most talked about issue among students – to lend authenticity to the experience.

“It’s good for the kids to see a little bit of what happens in the office,” she said. “It’s also good for me to experience what they experience. It’s been really neat for me to interact with them on that level.”

Classmate Tyler Peterson, 11, said it was a unique experience.

“It’s kind of weird,” he said. “She’s wearing his sweatshirt – and it fits.”

It was weird, too, said Cody Boling, 12, to have class without Nash.

“It’s kind of different because Nash isn’t there being all goofy.”