Once a year, Hesperia Unified schools give principals the day off and bring in other High Desert residents to fill their shoes.


On Thursday, more than two dozen Principals for a Day sat in on classes, conducted assemblies and taught students.


After a crash course in running an HUSD school, they converged at the district headquarters for a luncheon and to share what they'd learned.


"I haven't set foot on an elementary campus since I was in elementary school. I don't know how you guys do it," said Hesperia's principal planner, Dave Reno, who served as the principal for the day at Hollyvale Elementary School. "Even though I got killed at tetherball nothing's changed they were very nice students."


"Today, when you had that (Great California ShakeOut) drill, that was amazing," said Louise Noland, with the Friends of the Library, who spent the day at Joshua Circle Elementary School just in time to see a simulated earthquake drill. "Everyone walked out in order; there were no stragglers."


"It was so uplifting to me to see how enthused the kids were about learning," said Los Angeles Times sportswriter Lance Pugmire, who had spent the day as Cottonwood Elementary School's principal.


"What you saw today in the interactions on campus ... that's the piece that makes a difference, each and every day," Superintendent Mark McKinney told the attendees. "After you leave, you become our ambassadors, talking about Hesperia Unified and what you saw today."


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.