Recently, our principal accepted a district office job and the hunt for a new leader is on: interviews commence this week. Our superintendent and school board asked staff (and students) what qualities they crave in a leader. Here are some that ended up on the list over and over again:
Visionary: Someone who has the vision to select high impact concepts or strategies and develop them FULLY - not abandon when they detect any lack of “buy in” from staff.
Inspiring: One that can inspire a campus culture of intellectual curiosity and professional development. THis leads to organic community building. If you can inspire your staff, you bring them together.
A Teacher-at-Heart: Someone who was an AWESOME teacher, staying current in best practices, cutting edge pedagogy, and has a passion for both teaching and the energy of youth.
Interpersonal Communication Skills: Funny, personable, knows his staff, friendly, attends outside events (drama, music, sports, dances, Writers’ Cafe etc.)
Confident: Commands a room, students know who she/he is, strong sense of why they are and what they want to accomplish.
Tough: Makes some hard decisions that benefit the campus culture, the teachers, and, most importantly, our students.
Many, many more came up but these seemed to garner the most repetition. I think it’s an incredibly difficult job that is probably best suited for a team of three human beings: the fun one, the business one, and the politician. It certainly is a post I would never want. I think it is impossible to make everyone happy (you never will) because you simply can’t be three places at once and see all the shows, all the games, and all the awards ceremonies.
I do feel that my strongest principals (I have had four) are the ones that I truly feel have my back: they trust me, they support my ideas, and they take some risks with me. Their door is always open and they don’t see staff as interruptions but rather as their community to serve.
I’ve asked to be on the interview panel for the new boss and hope to be granted a spot. The principal has the power to create a campus culture, for better or for worse, and once that is set into motion, it sticks for awhile. As the old saying goes, “the only constant is change,” so let’s hope this is a good one.