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Oct 31st

Mike Favor, Super Principals mantra: Listen; tell the truth; hold people accountable

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(L) BOW WOW and Mike Favor at North High School Honor Roll celebration

To many in Minneapolis, Mike Favor has been known as the best principal that North High School has ever had. In his short three-year tenure as principal of North, he turned a school that has a ninety-five percent African American population, with equal numbers economically impoverished, into one of the premier schools for Black youth.

To many in Minneapolis, Mike Favor has been known as the best principal that North High School has ever had. In his short three-year tenure as principal of North, he turned a school that has a ninety-five percent African American population, with equal numbers economically impoverished, into one of the premier schools for Black youth.

Favor, 41, goes to any lengths to create triumphs for his students. His motto is to "listen, tell the truth and hold people accountable." He allows nothing to get in the way of the success of students. Whether it was getting extra support from community corporations and retired teachers, bringing rapper Bow Wow to North, or celebrating Honor Roll students, Favor has demonstrated that the achievement of students is his priority.

At the height of his career in Minneapolis, when everything he wanted for North was being manifested, the announcement was made that Favor had accepted the job as principal at Cooper High School in the Robbinsdale Area Schools.

This writer has been to Cooper High School several times since Mr. Favor has taken over the leadership. Although the principal takes bragging rights about his students, what was most impressive was watching over 2,000 students pass in the hall between classes. The sparkling clean school has floors so shiny that students can see their reflections. The talking was minimal, with all students on a mission to get to class. Although Favor was standing next to me, giving handshakes and reminding students they had three minutes to get to class, I thought, "If the principal can have this much influence with so many students in one month, I can only imagine his impact after one year."

Insight News sat down with Favor to learn his wisdom in education students.

INSIGHT: How many years have you been a principal?
FAVOR: I have been a principal for four years. North was my first school principal position. When former Superintendent Carol Johnson was in St. Louis Park, she brought me in to work with her. I was dean of students for four years and then I was an assistant principal for three years.

INSIGHT: Were you a teacher first?
FAVOR: I taught at Metro State while I was simultaneously working on my principal license.

INSIGHT: What did it feel like being a North High School graduate and then becoming the principal of your alma mater?
FAVOR: It was a dream come true. So many people have impacted my life. To be able to impact people’s lives is fantastic! I will never be financially rich, but I am community rich. So many people that were at North have made such a difference in my life. Yusef Mgeni used to have a Leadership Group at North. I was fortunate to be one of the students that were part of the group. Our elder and brother, Mahmoud El Kati, whose commitment to our children and our community is second to none, is someone I listen to. I walk with him, I listen and learn. Officer Scurry, the police officer in our building – I have also learned so much from. I once asked him, "Are you Black or are you Blue?" (referring to his uniform). He told me that he was Black long before he was Blue. Officer Scurry has stopped so many students from going to jail and has helped turn so many of them around. I have learned a great deal from Gerald Hickman, who worked with me at North and still comes and supports me here at Cooper. I am the product of my ancestors; of my community.

INSIGHT: What was it like being the employer of some of your former high school teachers?
FAVOR: Different, very different. Sometimes it was odd. I always had honest dialogues with my staff. I believe that you must tell people the truth and they will appreciate it. Teachers depended on me to take the leadership and give direction. My great respect and admiration for them made it easy for me to listen to them, tell them what I observed and
 

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