You will learn everyday what it is you are supposed to be doing... get used to this concept early on in the job and you will succeed.

This wiki has been created as a space for new school administrators to obtain professional development, support, and peer mentoring from other school administrators. It is a collaborative effort, so please feel free to contribute!
Check the Navigation pane in the sidebar for more resources.

The Big Idea.

As a new school administrator, what do you need to know in order to do your job and what do you need to know about it in order to be effective?

  1. District Procedures- do you know why you made that decision?
  2. School Procedures- do your school's procedures line up with your district?
  3. Classroom Procedures- do your teacher's procedures line up with your school?

Curriculum and Instruction
  1. What do I know about curriculum?
    1. Do I know good teaching?
  2. What makes a teacher a good manager of his/her classroom?

Relationship skills- Build bridges, not walls. No matter what, it is always easier to cross a bridge when you need something from the other side. Make a friend before you need a friend!
  1. Staff
    1. Do not make promises you cannot keep.
    2. If you don't know something admit it, but assure them you will find the answer.
    3. You always have authority but in practice the more you make the line blurred by a collaborative spirit the better.
  2. Student
    1. Be firm, but fair. As a rule, students respond to a principal who is firm in his/her decisions. They also recognize quite quickly when a principal does not apply the rules fairly.
    2. Your word is your bond. If it isn't you will lose respect with students quickly.
    3. Students often times act more like adults and adults more like children.
  3. Parent
    1. Find a variety of ways to communicate with parents and understand evening meetings are not the best for all. Ideas that have worked for me are breakfast meetings, serving up pancakes, morning coffee sessions, and lunch and learns. As well, printed material that goes home should be read by at least three persons... don't allow grammar or spelling errors to give the impression that you are not concerned about literacy. With today's reliance by many people on e-mail, consider communications by that mode and by blogging.
    2. Do your best to follow up with parents. There's nothing worse than discussing a situation with a parent, promising to address the issue, and then failing to follow up with the parent.
  4. Community
    1. Do your best to attend a healthy smattering of school events each week. Your presence at the JV basketball game, for instance, will go a long way with the students and their parents. Also, be sure to diversify the types of events you attend; attending only athletic events will give people impression that you are only concerned with sports...
  5. Informal Power Groups
  6. School Board/District Administration
    1. Know that in all likelihood you have a fiduciary responsibility to your employer, the board of education and to senior management. Keep critical comments between you and your supervisor, not the general public, parents, or students.
    2. Cultivate relationships with senior management, curriculum coordinators, technology managers, etc. You never know when you will need to count on them to support an initiative.

  1. Observations and evaluations - setting a schedule and a method -are there mandated tools, methods, forms, timelines to be followed?
  2. Enlist the help of others -
    1. HR director- they will love that you are asking them how THEY want to see things done
    2. Content Coordinators
    3. Other Administrators- Always work to develop those relationships. You never know when you will need to turn to them.
  3. What happens when someone is not cutting it - how to have those difficult conversations.
    1. Know your school's personnel policies and follow them! Being clear to faculty, especially when they are not meeting expectations, and then following your school's personnel policies in order to express your concern is the best way to avoid future problems or disagreements regarding the issue at hand.
  4. Document, document, document- if it isn't written down, then it didn't happen.

Professional Development and School Goals
  1. Who will be leading and planning PD
  2. What is the focus on PD
  3. Are your PD opportunities aligned with your school goals?
  4. Are your school goals data driven and aligned with your school/district mission, vision?

Data Analysis
  1. what data?
  2. where is it available?
  3. who has it?
  4. what will you do with it?
  5. who will you share it with?
  6. why are you collecting it?

Professional Learning Communities
  1. resources to access
  2. training staff
  3. structure
  4. finding time
  5. creating/following up on SMART goals
  6. celebrating success