Education A to Z: L for Leadership

Let’s face it, will a school run well if the leadership of that school isn’t so good? Most likely, it won’t. That is why leadership is such an essential part of the education system as a whole, because without strong leaders, schools tend to begin to crumble. Principals are important, whether people like them or not.

How can schools find strong leaders? Let’s focus on what school districts and hiring teams should be looking for when bringing in a new principal for a school:

-First, schools need to recruit strong leaders. Many school districts throughout the country are finding a shortage of strong principals. If schools know of good leaders in other districts, is there anything wrong with the school in need trying to recruit that great principal to their district? After all, you need to look out for number one: the students!

-Another focal point: What is being done to prepare potential school leaders for the demands placed on them today? Schools aren’t what they used to be, and principals now are responsible for many more things than in years past. How can we train principals, or those who wish to become one, for the things they need to know now? They need to know curriculum assessment, data analysis, making decisions, observing instruction, crisis prevention, and giving feedback to instructors. Not every principal is trained in these things and they need to be. If principals aren’t prepared to lead and aren’t trained properly, then schools won’t be strong.

-Principals put a lot of hours, and I mean a lot. Most of them also work year-round. Do you think we would have better leadership in our schools if principals were paid more? Granted, I believe most leaders of schools are paid pretty well, but given how much education they need and how many hours they work, perhaps better pay would entice more qualified and gifted people to try being a school leader.

What skills do you think a principal must have to be a good leader, and what can schools do to find better leaders?