My School Needs A New Principal And I Hope…

…the that leadership within Central Office and the School Board will genuinely listen to our teachers, students, and parents during the search and hiring process.

Yes, in the middle of the school year amidst the most unprecedented time in any teaching career, my school is losing a principal to open another school. Having taught for a few years and served under many principals in two states, if there is one goal that many principals hope to achieve before the end of a career, then it is to open a new school and set its trajectory from the beginning. ‘

It’s a noble reason.

But it leaves a void in that great school leaders are not simply replaced in an instant.

Principal Messages - John Hay Elementary School

If you want to look at the reason why a school performs well, then look to the relationships that surround the people: student, teachers, parents, community, staff, and what might be one of the most underappreciated roles in public education – the principal.

The responsibility of a principal is hard to even describe, much less fathom, if you have not been in administration before. They are the face of a school, the sounding board of a community, and the instructional leaders.

When a principal is effective, great things happen in a school. When a principal is ineffective, all facets of a school can stagnate.

It is no secret that many a school board in this state is filled with stress and anxiety over how to navigate this pandemic, but aside from that and other unforeseen events that alter school years, there is a constant that system leaders must always deal with and be able to confront: finding good principals.

And I am like every other teacher who looks at his (her) school as more than a workplace but a second home in that it takes a special person to lead my school.

My school needs a leader who understands that the student-teacher relationship is the foundational element of any success in learning.

My school needs a leader who treats every teacher’s class as if it is the most important class on campus whether or not there is a standardized test attached to it.

My school needs a leader who understands that an entire village’s population is devoted to that school and that multiple generations within the same families have graduated from there.

My school needs a leader who can comfortably address a crowd but when conversing with one person make that one person feel as if he or she is the most important person at that moment.

My school needs a leader who when walking on campus knows the first names of the students and asks about their lives outside of the classroom.

My school needs a leader who understands that sports, service clubs, activities, and extracurriculars are just as vital to a school’s culture and success as anything else.

My school needs a leader who will attend plays, concerts, junior varsity games, and know the cheers and chants of the student section at a football game.

My school needs a leader who understands that teachers are experts of their content and that veteran teachers are most vital.

My school needs a leader who understands that many teachers are parents of students as well and even graduates of the school and that the investment they have in the school’s success cannot be measure by any rubric.

My school needs a leader who is dedicated to academic and personal growth and not just a bottom line of test scores.

My school needs a leader who will sit in the cafeteria during lunch and walk around during class changes and converse with students.

My school needs a leader who will not just rubber-stamp any edict from the system level that deserves to be questioned because he / she knows his / her school well enough to understand what is best for the students and staff.

My school needs a leader who is not afraid to be questioned with respect.

My school needs a leader who can offer honest feedback to any teacher and be brave enough to say, “I don’t know, but I will find out.”

My school needs a leader who looks at each student as an individual who is an expert of his or her own life and challenges.

My school needs a leader who can make a tough decision.

My school needs a leader who can remove obstacles and not create them.

My school needs someone who is the walking paradox – a person who can seem to do many things at one time but show a constant focus on leading.

My school needs a special leader because my school is the most important – like every other school.

5 thoughts on “My School Needs A New Principal And I Hope…

  1. Our school “lost” our principal in last year’s principal fiasco, she was moved to one of the under performing schools that suddenly had an opening. We worried about who would fill her shoes. We got very lucky in that we not only got a principal who meets so many of the traits that you list…but we also have her all to ourselves! While I was of a mind to move schools, I now hope to stay put…even knowing that big changes are on the horizon as we prepare to welcome part of Hanes Middle next year. A good leader makes the impossible seem possible.


  2. Spot on. As principal (now retired) I had the opportunity to open two brand new schools and work w/ the teachers to establish the culture and climate that emphasized student learning. Those were exciting times! Another time I was the principal of a school that had to be closed and the students were to join the school in the community 8 miles away (where I was also principal). Talk about a challenge! I’d like to think the teachers and I were successful in making that a smooth transition.


  3. This is so true. We had this type of principal. She volunteered to help another school in need and her replacement has turned our loving, family friendly environment into a nightmare! You cannot replace years of experience and thoughtful, successful leadership with someone with a PhD and the desire to prove themselves. Our hearts are breaking for so many reasons as the staff who once loved their jobs abandon ship, it is the children who will loose the most. 😭


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