October is, among many things, National Principals Month (as recognized by all three national principal associations; NASSP, NAESP, AFSA). I must say I am so grateful to have these entities come together to recognize the difficult and often thankless work principals do across the country. They ask in this campaign that all posts are tagged with #ThankAPrincipal, thus, that is the purpose of today’s post…to #ThankAPrincipal
As most of you know, I was a high school principal for six years, at Rock Springs High School. Prior to that I was an assistant principal for five years and a classroom teacher for eleven years. During this time, I had the honor of working for and with some amazing principals. I am now a superintendent at West Grand School District in Kremmling, Colorado, and work with two awesome principals. I would like to take this time to thank those principals I’ve been blessed to be around for their work and dedication by explaining to those who’ve never been a principal what it’s really like.
Being a principal is a tough job, tougher than most realize or know. As the principal, you are the face of the school, you are responsible for the culture and climate of the school, you are the primary communicator, goal setter, instructional leader, operations manager, budget balancer, student advocate, behavior expert, cheerleader, and relationship builder. The principal serves as greeter at the front door, counselor to parents, students, and teachers, driver of special education IEP’s, human resources director of the school, conflict resolution expert, supervisor and evaluator for the entire staff, along with lunchroom and hallway supervisor. Principals must be able to plan for short term and long term, must understand what quality instruction not only looks like but be able to coach all disciplines and grade levels in this area, and while we are at it, principals must love kids! Sound like a lot…that is just between ‘normal’ business hours. Today’s principals also have to advocate for their schools and districts through local, state, and national organizations, build relationships with their state and federal legislators to assist in driving education policy, attend countless meetings in the evening, sit on some community service projects or boards, and make it to every volleyball game, football game, wrestling match, and so forth. All of this while trying, I say trying, to spend quality time with their own families. Being a principal is a tough job. The men and women that take on this challenge deserve our gratitude, our understanding, and a great deal of praise.
I was blessed during my principal career to go to work every day with amazing kids, dedicated teachers and staff, and some good friends. I was part of many excellent leadership teams and enjoyed nearly all parts of my job. I was fortunate to be able to serve principals in my state and nationally as an officer in WASSP (Wyoming’s chapter of NASSP). I even had the gift of being my daughter’s principal for three years, which carried with it challenges and rewards unique to that opportunity. I loved being a principal so much that I wrote my doctoral dissertation about principals. One of my goals going forward is to grow principals, because their work is so very important. OK, you get it – I care a great deal about principals…and to all of them I say thank you.
As I mentioned earlier, I work in West Grand with two rockstar principals. They have very unique skills but have a common bond…the belief that we can and must always focus on doing what is best for kids. I am proud to be a part of their educational journey and excited to see where they take their schools and their skills. I will add a challenge here, for those in Kremmling, to say thank you to Mr. Buller and Mrs. Bauer for all they do in their roles as principals.
October is National Principals Month – no matter where you live, no matter what you do, take a moment to think about the great work being done by principals and #ThankAPrincipal.
Keep on walking that #RoadToAwesome