Keeping up with Mr. Perlmutter

As everyone moved through their first blocks, I was lucky enough to have a chance to pick Mr. Perlmutter’s brain on the latest questions, issues, and conversation topics I have thought of in the last week. While sipping a cup of Lady Grey in my new Magnet swag, we stepped into a day in the life of Mr. Perlmutter. Ever wondered how long it takes Mr. Perlmutter to finish a bag of chia seeds? We uncover it all in this interview!

TD: How has your first semester been at Magnet?
PM: Not easy, but rewarding and a lot of fun. Things that are worth doing aren’t easy, and I’ve had a great time, especially with the kids. The school is very different and very much the same. And technically, this isn’t my first semester, it’s my ninth!

TD: What’s your favorite color?
PM: Green, specifically forest green. All of the schools I have taught at have had green as their school colors, so it’s my lucky color.

TD: What’s your zodiac sign?
PM: My sun is Scorpio, moon is Aquarius, and rising is Cancer.

Mr. Perlmutter in his childhood

TD: What’s a funny story about Magnet when you were a student there, or what are some good memories from your high school days?
PM: I had a teacher named Mr. Whetzel, who taught Spanish in a trailer which had no steps. So every time we had class, we had to help each other in and out of the trailer. It was really a great bonding experience. Also, Mrs. Sharon Williams was my Drivers Ed teacher, and she taught me how to drive. I passed the test, but barely because I parallel parked too far from the curb. But not because of Coach Williams; that was all me. And I’ve got plenty more, for example some of the career day speakers have been my friends for 20 years. They all said they were gonna tell embarrassing stories about me.

( I did hear a couple, one was that Mr. Perlmutter and his friends were planning on playing a game of soccer with their families. Apparently Mr. Perlmutter is very competitive, because he stole everyone’s left shoes before the game in order to secure the win for his own family. Go Raptors!)

TD: Did you guys have Wall days too?
PM: No, but we had a Renaissance Fair which was a lot of fun. Mrs. Lankford and maybe Mrs. Hurt may remember it. It was a very fancy dinner party where people were given awards named after Renaissance thinkers.

TD: Did you guys have spirit week then?
PM: Spirit weeks have always been a thing here. All of the cultural pieces of the school have been there since day one. There was a teacher, Mrs. Bures, who was a big part of this. She was very invested, very out there. Spirit has always been a huge part of the school.

Mr. Perlmutter and the fam!

TD: What does a typical day look like in your life?
PM: I wake up at 5:25, feed the dogs, eat breakfast and coffee, then I bring my daughter to the bus stop at 6:30 for CE Williams. Then I come home, get ready for work, and go in and see what problems are waiting at school for me. Which isn’t a bad thing, I love when people bring me their problems, it means they trust me and think I am capable of finding a solution. No off days, ever. Just this week, we have our Frank Flannigan Memorial service, to late night basketball games, to the career symposium, to an alumni soccer game with a dozen meetings in between. But I prefer that over spending my life in a cubicle. This is much more enjoyable.

TD: Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
PM: No, but I think I’m probably playing the back 9 at this point, meaning I think I’m probably already across the halfway point. I’m 44, and expect that I won’t see 88. But I can say that almost with 100% certainty that I will die.

TD: What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
PM: I spent some time in the principal’s office when I was a student. Rather than being punitive, it was restorative.  I even have fond memories of getting in trouble, So professionally, I’m proud of being principal of a school I once went to. Other than that, my kids, easily. Again, it’s still a challenge, still worthwhile.

Because how many chia seeds can a person eat in a day, you know?

— Mr. Perlmutter

TD: What’s a small triumph in your life that has been accomplished recently?
PM: I bought a 5 pound bag of chia seeds last year, and I just finished it. I would eat one small bite per day, because how many chia seeds can a person eat in a day, you know? It kind of goes hand in hand with my job. Being a principal isn’t all about making proclamations and standing at podiums, it’s more about making 500 small right decisions in a row, and if you make a wrong one, the next one has to be to fix it.

TD: What’s one piece of advice you would give to Magnet students?
PM: Just because things are difficult doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. The world is better when bright kids push themselves (not to a breaking point); however, if you don’t accept a challenge you never know what you could’ve done.