When I first became a headmaster I naturally found myself reflecting on the big question that what makes a good school? A passage entered my mind in 2008, almost fully formed, and although I am always open to new ideas and changing the emphasis of what I say in the regard.
I believe a principal must exhibit good leadership. This is a characteristic that every principal must possess. The principal is the instructional leader of her or his building. I always feel a good leader has to take responsibility both in the successes and the failures of his or her school. A good leader puts the needs of others in front of her own. A good leader is always looks to improve her school and then figures out how to make those improvements no matter how difficult it might be. Leadership defines how successful any school is. A school without a leader will likely fail, and a principal who is not a leader will find themselves without a job .
How I adept with people.If I don’t like people I shouldn’t be a principal. I have and will always try to be able to connect with each person that I deal with on a daily basis. I try to find common ground and earn their trust. There are so many groups of people that I deal with daily including teachers, support staff, parents, students, & community members. Every group requires a different approach and individuals within a group are unique in their own right. I never know what is going to walk into my office next. People come in with a variety of emotions including happiness, sadness, and anger. I always try to be able to deal with each of those situations effectively by connecting to the person and showing them that I care about their unique situation. They have to believe that I will do whatever I can make their situation better.
How I balance tough love with earned praise.This is especially true with our students and our teachers. I can’t be a push over, meaning that I let people get away with mediocrity. I have to set expectations high and hold those are in charge of to those same standards. This means that there will be times when I have to reprimand people and likely hurt their feelings. It is a part of the job that isn’t pleasant, but it is necessary if I want to run an effective school so I do it. At the same time, I always try to offer praise when it is appropriate. I don’t forget to tell those teachers who are doing an extraordinary job that I appreciate them. I don’t forget to recognize those students who excel in the areas of academics, leadership, and/or citizenship. An outstanding principal can motivate using a combination of both of those approaches which I do.
I try to be an excellent listener. I never know when an angry student, a disgruntled parent, or an upset teacher is going to walk into my office. I have to be prepared to deal with those situations and that starts with being an exceptional listener. I can disarm most difficult situations simply by showing them that I care enough to listen to what they want to say. When someone wants to meet with me because they feel wronged in someway, I will hear them out. It doesn’t mean that I let them bash another person continuously. I can be firm on not letting them be little a teacher or student, but allow them to vent without being disrespectful to another person. Be willing to go the next step in helping them resolve their issue. Sometimes that might be mediating between two students who have had a disagreement. Sometimes it might be talking to a teacher to get their side of a story and then relaying that to the parent. In any case, it all begins with listening which I defiantly do in my school .
My visionary. Education is ever-evolving. There is always something bigger and better available. I always attempt to improve my school, I simply not do my job. This will always be an on-going process. Even if I have been at a school for fifteen years, there are still things I can do to improve the overall quality of my school. Each individual component is a working part within the larger framework of the school. Each of those components at least needs oiled every once in a while. I may have to replace a part that is not working. Occasionally I even able to upgrade an existing part that was doing its job, but something better was developed. I never want to be stale. Even my best teachers can get better. It is my job to see that no one gets uncomfortable and everyone is working to improve continuously.