I’m in my first year as a principal and I’ve found it to be an exciting and challenging experience. It is sometimes lonely after being used to being part of a teaching unit. Last year I was an assistant principal so If needed to talk something over there was someone there. As the single administrator in the building there is not one that is immediately there to ask for advice. Being part of a private Facebook Group, The Principal Entrepreneur, has allowed me to ask questions and receive answers in a safe and supportive environment. The following three pieces of advice were given when I asked, “What advice would you give a first year Principal?”
“Talk to your students! You learn the most from them!”
Principal: Dexter High School, New Mexico
This one has been one of the easier pieces of advice to follow. I tend to be student centered. However, following this piece of advice did cause some tension with my staff. I made a decision in which students were able to make their own choice. Staff was not pleased with the choice they made. How have others dealt with blowback in this situation?
Really . . . that too?
“Learn to say no! You have enough to do as it is.”
Principal: Holt Lutheran School, Michigan
This particular piece of advice is more difficult for me to follow. There are good ideas that create new opportunities for our students. I don’t know if I’ve done the best at this. Not all the things I’ve said yes to necessarily line up to our school’s overall mission and vision. What methods do you use to filter ideas that come to you?
Patience is a Virtue
“Be patient with change-take your staff and community through the process and let it work.”
Sara Nieves Pelly
Principal: Fletcher Elementary, Southern California
As a person with ADHD this is the toughest for me. I’m always wanting to push for the next thing. The idea of patience also ties back to the previous quote and why I struggle with the next shiny object syndrome. Real change takes three to five years. For others out there: is a 3-5 plan actually realistic? With the constant change in leadership in our field how do you plan for the long term?
As a new principal I appreciate the advice of more established leaders. It definitely helps me to grow more quickly. What advice would you give a first year principal? Leave your answer in the comment section below. For more quick tips check out my blog and podcasts at theprincipalentrepreneur.com
I'm a Principal and an Entrepreneur. I'm the former owner of a food venture Hustling Hoagies, the author of the children's picture books Detective Dwayne Drake and the Alphabet Thief, Detective Dwayne Drake and The Case of the Mathematical Misfit and the ebook Making it as a Male Model in Michigan. I've worked professionally as a model and commercial actor......