For whatever reason, the schools I’ve worked in lately or the ones my children have attended, have experienced a lot of turnover when it comes to the school principal. When I started a new position after leaving my position with Discovery Education, I didn’t think there’d be a leadership change after one year. Surprisingly, I was asked to be on the interview committee for the new principal. The person we ended up hiring was excellent and I feel the school is in very good hands. After moving to a full-time position at a new school this year, I was hired at a school that didn’t have a principal. A new principal was hired shortly after. I’ve been very happy with her leadership and from what I’ve gathered from other teachers, the change has been a good one overall for the building.
I’ve been working in various schools and positions for about 18 years and have worked with 9 (I think) different principals. Almost all have been ones I’ve gotten along with and feel were assets to their schools. I don’t know if I realized it early on, but the principal plays such an important role in the school environment. They can set a positive tone for not only the teachers, but also for the students. Their energy, enthusiasm, and positive interest in student success is extremely important. Two things that I feel is extremely important is their organizational skills and confidence. Another quality I feel is important is being real. I have really appreciated when principals are real people, interact with you in a way that is sincere, and help you grow as an educator. Sometimes the “real” part is hard to put into words, but when you see it, you know it’s there.
The high school where my daughter currently attends, is in the process of hiring a new principal. My daughter’s a junior and had one principal her freshman year and then an interim principal for the past two years. In the next week or two, a new principal will be named for next school year. I attended two of the three finalists meetings for parents to see what the candidates were like. I have a favorite of the two I saw, and I’m hoping that person is offered the position. From the hour long Q & A session I attended, the ideas for the school, experience, and ideas seem like a good fit. Obviously, it will be a while before we really know for sure if this person is the correct person for the job, but I have a good feeling. This person seems like a good leader, has a good vision, and seemed real. I only hope the people in charge of making this decision, which includes the staff at the school, are pleased down the road.
I’ve mentioned a few traits that I feel are essential for principals. I’m curious what you think. What makes a good principal, what’s important to you?