P2 News

Interview on Forgiveness with Principal Mitchell

By Jeff Bryan

Cairo-Durham Middle School’s Principal Michael Mitchell has forgiveness as his top character strength. Because forgiveness is near the bottom of the list for me — and something I’m working to improve — I wanted to ask Principal Mitchell a few questions.

(Banner Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash)

Principal Michael (Mike) Mitchell of Cairo-Durham middle school points to his top Positivity Project character strength: forgiveness.

JB: Why do you think forgiveness is your top character strength?
MM: As a building leader and a middle school principal, it is important for me to lead by example. I am very transparent with my students and let them know I make many mistakes on a daily basis. Mistakes are our greatest teachers. You will learn through the experience, and also by seeking help from others on how to rectify your mistake. Having the ability to forgive yourself and others when mistakes happen will promote growth, change, and success!
JB: How have you used forgiveness as a leader? Has it helped your leadership?
As a school leader, my job is to inspire and engage students and staff to take chances and push each person out of their comfort zone. Having the ability to be open-minded and “forgive” is essential for the growth of students, staff and the entire school community. Forgiveness has helped my leadership by maintaining perspective. No one accomplishment defines you, and no one mistake defines you!

JB: How has forgiveness helped in your personal life — in relationships with yourself, your family, or your friends?

MM: Having forgiveness as my number one character trait has made me a stronger individual both personally and professionally. Personally, forgiveness has given me the ability to build stronger relationships. Learning to forgive and understand another person’s viewpoint or perspective has helped me build incredible friendships. It has also provided me with an amazing wife of 15 years!

Professionally, I knew in my early 30’s I wanted to be a school principal. The path to becoming a principal was never easy and I was often quick to criticize and blame myself. If I was not able to ultimately forgive myself, I would not be in the place or position I am in today. 

Jeff Bryan
CEO and Co-Founder of The Positivity Project

Jeff Bryan is the CEO and Co-Founder of The Positivity Project. In this role, he leads the organization to support educators to empower their students to build positive relationships and become their best selves.