Dr. Paul Semendinger

Sean Adams/WCBS 880

Stories From Main Street: A Principal Who Writes To Inspire Kids And Adults

September 16, 2018 - 5:00 pm
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RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (WCBS 880) -- Dr. Paul Semendinger just loves being the principal at Hawes Elementary School in Ridgewood, New Jersey.

“Oh, I love it,” Semendinger said. “It’s a magical job.”

But as WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported in this week’s edition of “Stories from Main Street,” Semendinger also has another passion.

“I’ve always wanted to be an author, and I write a lot, and I have been lucky that a couple of my books have been published, yes,” he said.

Inspired by silly, playful exchanges with his students, Semendinger created the “Principal Sam” series for young readers.

Dr. Paul Semendinger
Sean Adams/WCBS 880

“Principal Sam is a very kind, caring principal, but he’s very confused, and he gets simple things mixed up,” Semendinger said. “So in Principal Sam’s first book – it’s called, ‘Principal Sam and the Calendar Confusion’ – he gets dressed each day knowing that it’s a holiday, but he doesn’t quite know what the holiday is, and so on these various holidays, he comes to school dressed in the wrong clothing.”

Principal Sam Books
Sean Adams/WCBS 880

In another installment, Principal Sam gets confused about different sports, as he tries to get fit. He mixes up all the old fairy tales in “Principal Sam and the Three Bears.”

Principal Sam Books
Sean Adams/WCBS 880

Each time, the children are the heroes. They help find a solution.

The message?

“That kids can actually teach the adults in the world,” Semendinger said.

Semendinger writes for adults too.

“It is a way that I deal with the good and the bad and the struggles and the euphoria of life, is I write about it,” he said.

Semendinger has compiled motivational passages that he pens for his teachers every week.

“Really, the central message of all that is we can be whatever we want to be. The book is titled, ‘Impossible Is an Illusion,’ and if we work hard at it and we try to fulfill our dreams, we can do more than we ever felt possible,” he said. “And the other main point is just to love each other, and especially since we’re teachers, to love kids.”