I am a DCPS Principal: Rahman Branch 

Principal, Ballou High School

Principal Rahman Branch, Ballou High School
Principal Branch introduces First Lady Michelle Obama at an event at Ballou.

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Rahman Branch has been the principal of Ballou High School for the past three years. We asked him about his role as a leader and how he is working to create the best possible learning environment for all of his students.

As a leader, what is the vision that you hold for your school?

I have a vision for what kids can accomplish and how I can be an aid in helping them accomplish great things.

To me, education is a true form of liberation. Our desire is to make sure that our kids are globally competitive, and to become globally competitive, you need a strong educational background.

The true way toward having the American dream is becoming globally competitive for college and a career, so students can improve upon themselves, their families and the community.

What’s the role that special education plays at your school? How do you make special education a priority at your school?

I believe that all of us have our own challenges and that there is no cookie cutter approach to education. The special education population is one that stands out as a constant reminder that we have to be able to educate children with multiple challenges in various ways so they can be successful.

Every child is not born the same way, but every child has the opportunity and right to be educated, and the right to the same successes as their counterparts. We are reminded in our decision-making that we are holding every child’s interest.

What do you think is your school’s greatest asset?

Our greatest asset is our staff. We have a staff that is highly committed to making sure our children are globally competitive. They are willing to walk on water and through walls. They are that kind of group, and I wouldn’t trade them for anyone else.

What about your students inspire you?

I always say that the walk from home to school for my children is one that most people can’t do. Most people can’t endure what our children go through just to make it to school on time. It’s that sort of tenacity that’s inspiration – you can’t get that everywhere.

What do you think makes for a great educator? What do you look for in your teachers?

Someone who is well versed in what he or she is teaching, someone who is highly reflective in his or her practice, and someone who is willing to stay with the fight and to stick in there.

I look for that tenacity. I look for someone who is willing to go the distance, to commit to our students the same way we ask them to commit to us. Someone who is not afraid to be vulnerable and confident at the same time, and who will work with these kids as if they are their own.

Tell us about a teacher who inspired you when you were a student.

Ms. Armstrong was my third grade teacher. She was somebody who made sure every child in the classroom found success.

For me, finding success meant tackling my most difficult subject – math. As a result, she instilled in me academically a work ethic that I haven’t lost today.

What’s something your students would be surprised to find out about you?

I am the possessor of three gold albums – music, like youth development, is a life-long passion.

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