5 Strategies to Keep Effective School Leaders

With teachers and now principals leaving education, the future of our educational system is hanging in the balance. Our children deserve a strong, supportive educational environment where they can learn and grow. We have to inspire, hire and keep strong school leaders. Let’s look at some ways to keep principals on our campuses.

1. Provide adequate compensation

The saying that educators are “in it for the outcomes, not the income” is both true and false. Principals certainly choose to be there because they have a passion for making a difference in the lives of students and teachers. They are driven to lead, and create positive learning environments where everyone can succeed. Just like any other job in the public sector, school leaders should expect to be appropriately compensated for the work they do.

2. Improve working conditions

Being a school principal is complex and multifaceted. Just as principals are responsible for creating positive school cultures, the central office should be responsible for creating environments where principals can lead effectively, are respected and supported. Clear expectations for school-related time and work both during and outside school hours should be set. Principals shouldn’t be on duty 24/7.

Campuses should be appropriately staffed so that school leaders aren’t scrambling to fill in when teachers or other staff are absent. Reduce paperwork to only what is truly needed so principals can spend more time in classrooms observing and supporting teachers and students.

Safety is key! Discipline procedures and protocols should be such that principals don’t have to fear being assaulted by students. Our CENTEGIX CrisisAlert incident response solution empowers administrators and educators to act and respond with confidence in every situation, from the every day to the extreme. Schools should also be properly secure. RhinoWare Lockdown System instantly transforms any room into an ultra-secure safe room in the event of an emergency to ensure everyone on campus is safe and feels safe.

3. Build capacity with high quality professional development

Building the leadership capacity of principals is essential. Principals typically have post-graduate degrees in education or participate in high-quality training programs to become certified to lead schools. Because turnover rates can be high in the first three years, it is important that new school leaders have experienced mentors who can provide support and coach them as they find their leadership style. They can also gain from opportunities to engage with their peers to exchange ideas. 

It’s important that principals continue to learn and grow by attending professional development courses, seminars and conferences. Principals who are able to positively impact both teachers and students by creating positive, supporting environments are less likely to leave. Teachers are also more likely to stay on a campus where leadership is strong.

4. Provide adequate decision-making authority

Principals should have greater input when it comes to the things that directly impact their campus. Hiring teachers and staff should be one of the most important tasks left to principals. They know what their vision and expectations are for the school, and they should be able to seek and hire those professionals who align with their vision. Principals should also have some input and responsibility for the campus budget and be able to participate in the selection of curriculum.

5. Reform high stakes accountability systems 

Policies and evaluation systems should be reformed so that principal reviews and salaries aren’t heavily weighted on how well students score on a single federally mandated high-stakes test.

Principals play a huge role in the success of students and teachers! It is vital that we work to support and encourage them so that they stay on their campuses and positively impact the community for a long time.

Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.

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