As I think of principal placement, I often think of the sports teams I have played on in the past. Everyone has a specific role to play in order for the team to achieve the vision of success. As educators, we are responsible for a role that is more critical than any other: to ensure that students receive an experience where they can achieve their personal best. As school leaders, we must evaluate the strength of our administrators, evaluate student and teacher needs, and evaluate community needs.
The principal is a valuable piece of the team that connects together all facets of the vision from the goals of the district, to the goals of the school, to the goals of the teacher, to the goals of the individual student. By regularly evaluating the placement of the principal to ensure effectiveness, a district leader can continue to support not only the growth of the district but also the growth of each individual school.
More importantly, information must be considered about how individual students at each school are achieving to meet personal academic goals. Changes should be made when needed to support student and teacher needs. School needs may vary from academic achievement to parent involvement. One principal may be a great academic leader while another may be able to develop community support and create strong parent involvement programs. Knowing the strengths of your team members is critical and placing the individuals appropriately to achieve the common goal contributes to the success of the entire district team.
Just as a winning coach often struggles with which player should be on the court or field during the critical moments of the big game, district leaders face tough decisions when determining where to place employees. Principals face the decision of placing teachers in the appropriate grade level based on their strengths and where they will benefit the most students academically. Directors of schools face challenging decisions to ensure that principals are in the correct placements to provide exemplary leadership to impact all students, teachers, and community members that they contact on a daily basis.
While decisions are difficult in a leadership role, as the pieces are put together to achieve the vision, I think about the answer to this question: “Would this be best for my own children?” If the answer is “yes,” then the decision is a quality one for all students.