Thursday, October 29, 2009

What I Want in a Principal

A few weeks ago our principal announced that she is retiring at the end of December. Obviously, this news has left our staff speculating and fretting about the future administration and how our culture will be affected by the introduction of a new leader.

We were invited to give input into what we would like in a future principal. While many of us felt that this was just a perfunctory session, about a third of our staff was able to be there and provide some thoughtful input -- as well as shed a few tears. Here's what I wrote and read at the meeting:

I want a principal who will take the time to understand and truly appreciate the culture of positive learning that has been created at our school.

I want a principal who loves middle schoolers with all their quirkiness and hormonal energy.

I want a principal who listens to her students when they want to share a problem or concern, or just updates about what television show they watched last night.

I want a principal who lets her teachers take risks, allowing her teachers to try innovative instruction.

I want a principal who empowers her teachers to take on leadership roles and who supports their professional growth.

I want a principal who is well respected in the community, who makes connections with parents and business leaders.

I want a principal who is a teacher leader first and foremost, never forgetting what it takes to do the hard stuff of teaching on a daily basis.

I want a principal who stands up for her teachers and students when the time comes.

I want a principal who listens to her teachers when they have a concern or a problem or a solution or they just want to share some personal news.

I want a principal who is seen on the campus, in the classroom, in the media center, in the cafeteria, on the athletic field.

I want a principal who implements strong teaching and learning programs that will impact student achievement.

I want a principal who makes the most of her dollars, imploring sound financial abilities to effectively and efficiently provide the materials and resources to run our school.

I want a principal who recognizes, appreciates, and supports all levels of learners from special needs students to academically gifted students.

I want a principal who understands and can effectively assess the data to make important instructional decisions and support successful teaching practices.

I want a principal who is honest, tenacious, caring, professional, vibrant, personable, organized, savvy, accountable, objective, and positive. I want a principal who is “real”.

I want a principal who is a cheerleader, recognizing teacher and staff professional achievements and student academic, behavior, and athletic achievements.

I want a principal who communicates her expectations to her teachers, students, and parents.

I want a principal who asks questions.

I want a principal who realizes that this is “our” school – it belongs to all of us: the staff, students, parents and community. We will welcome a new principal to be a part of our school, but it will continue to belong to all of us: “our” school.


Nancy Flanagan said...

I like 'em all (says the middle school teacher). But I like the last two best.

A principal who naturally shares ownership and leadership--saying this is "our" school--will also be a principal who asks questions rather than making pronouncements or giving orders.

Good work. Thought about submitting this to an administrative journal? It's worthy.

Ms. Dee said...

Thanks, Nancy. Any thoughts on what journal might take my piece?

Nancy Flanagan said...

Maybe "Principal" --the NAESP's journal for elementary/middle school principals? Or a better bet might be the NC chapter of NAESP--do they have a regular journal? Or perhaps a journal for media specialists?