What is a Principal Intern and who is Mr. Bilock?


Photo by Abbas Yazdi

WCHS principal intern, Patrick Bilock, stands in the middle of the administration meeting room on Oct. 28, 2022. Bilock is projected to fill Principal Taylor’s position before the end of 2022 .

By Amir Abbas-Yazdi, Assistant Opinions Editor

WCHS Principal John Taylor has only been on the job for one full school year but before the start of the second-semester principal intern, Patrick Bilock, will be taking his place. How is this process going to work and what does it mean for the WCHS community?

The principal internship program is a part of MCPS’s Leadership Development Program. The program consists of an incredibly arduous process that interested applicants must go through in order to become a principal. They must first become a certified administrator, then a certified assistant principal, a principal intern and then finally, an official principal. The most significant component of this process is the practicum, a section of time where the principal intern assumes the roles and responsibilities of a principal. This year, it will occur between Dec. 1 and Jan. 26 where Bilock will go on to assume Taylor’s position, as his role is filled in by a new principal intern at WCHS. 

“The purpose of the internship is to provide an authentic principal experience with the support of a veteran principal, in this case, Mr. Taylor, and other members of the professional development team,” Bilock said. “The easiest and most relatable analogy for the principal internship is to compare it to a student teaching experience, except at the level of the administration.” 

The principal intern program clearly contains a lot of moving parts to it and can be a little complicated for students and teachers at WCHS to understand. But from what can be tested, teachers have faith in the administration.

“I don’t know what’s going on [with the intern program] but I trust [the administration] is doing it well [and] I feel confident with Mr. Bilock,” WCHS social studies teacher Amanda Marshall said. “I think that the best way for someone to learn a position is to do it; as teachers, we student teach where we go into the classroom and the teacher leaves and they guide us and they mentor us, so I like the idea that the principal [is taking] someone under their wing and is guiding them and mentoring and they get an opportunity to lead a building while being able to be supported as opposed to [them] being dropped in the building as a first-year principal with no real [training.]”

Despite this, students and teachers still have a long way to go to get comfortable with Mr. Bilock as a school administrator. Many are eager to get to know him better beyond the work he does currently at school and are interested to look at his years of experience in the MCPS system. 

“This is my 18th year in [MCPS],  I started my career at Roberto Clemente Middle School teaching 8th-grade science,” Bilock said. “I then taught Biology, AP Biology and Forensic Science at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. I left B-CC to be a consulting teacher with the Office of Human Resources and Development where I supported teachers in their continuous improvement and professional development. Then, I was the Resource Teacher for Science and Technology at Rockville High School. Just prior to WCHS, I was an assistant principal for three years and the acting principal for one year at Sligo Middle School.” 

Although Bilock dedicated all those years to be a teacher, he is now much more focused on building his administrative title.

“I decided to come to WCHS as a principal intern as a way to continue my growth in secondary leadership,” Bilock said. “Most of my teaching experience was [in] high school and all of my prior administrative experience [were] at the middle school level. I wanted to try a new challenge that would also provide me with a variety of opportunities and experiences for reflection and growth as an administrator.”

Being a principal is hard work, especially when it comes to replacing another for a short period of time.

“It will be important to continue to utilize the cohesion that has already been established within the administrative team as well as the school instructional leadership team (ILT),” Bilock said. “With Mr. Taylor going to another school and another principal coming here, that automatically changes the dynamics that we’ve already established. I plan to work with the team to ensure a seamless transition occurs and the work continues. In terms of the challenges with staffing, we will also continue to be flexible as we hire for vacancies, support new hires to the building or their positions and provide coverage for those vacancies we can’t yet fill.”

In administration, almost every day offers something new. When working with so many different individuals, students, staff, family and community members, it is important to listen and observe since everyone wants to feel valued. This obliges Bilock to improve every day and actively try to do better than yesterday, making his job that much more meaningful and fulfilling.

“One of my core values [and goals] is continuous improvement; I believe in the ongoing reflection and adjustment of practices for the sake of growth and development,” Bilock said. “I know that may be a general statement, but whenever I have a conversation with a student, staff member, caregiver, or community member, I will often ask, ‘how can we make it better?’”  

At this point, Bilock has been able to briefly introduce himself. It is true that he is a long way from connecting with all of WCHS on a more personal level. But, he still strives to spread his message and positively impact the WCHS community.

“We are all destined to do great things and not all great things are extraordinary,” Bilock said. “Sometimes great things are small, [like] everyday acts of kindness. Your ability to change the world is going to happen when you are true to yourself. Be you, be kind, and the world will be a better place because of it.”