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Sep 16

Advice for Educators Wanting to be Principals

If you have spent time as a school principal for a long enough time, you should have had the opportunity to recognize leadership potential in one or more staff members. It is a special opportunity that you may have to encourage and “grow” that staff member into a leadership position. It may be as a department leader/chairperson, coach or as a team leader where teachers demonstrate a recognizeable tendency to lead and be regarded as a leader by the staff.  Once you have recognized this ability in this stafff member, the next step would be to encourage professional growth toward becoming an assistant principal.  This is a unique experience and having been on the “encouraging” end of the process, it is also a rewarding one.

In a recent blog (September 15, Education Week  -“Advice for Educators Wanting to be Principals…Part One”) by Larry Ferlazzo, teacher and author, proposes several characteristics for the making of a successful principal. In addition to his own list of traits, he has gathered opinions from educators in the field and at the university level that are well worth sharing with an aspiring administrator.

One contributer is Cheryl Jones-Ward, an associate professor at San Diego State University. She writes: The first thing I would say to someone wishing to become a principal is be sure you understand the demands and responsibility of the job. The fundamental responsibility of a principal is to prepare the students entrusted to you to be productive, contributing global citizens. This requires understanding the world that we are preparing students for, and having the stamina and courage to work with the entire school community: students, teachers, parents, district administrators, and larger school community to this end. Be prepared to be an instructional leader, a politician of sorts, a visible and active member of the school community, to oversee school budgets, engage in group dynamics, champion the school vision and be the number one advocate for every child entrusted to you.

There are other thoughts that Ferlazzo and others have listed that outline what characteristics school leaders should have. You may access them at:  http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/classroom_qa_with_larry_ferlazzo/20