Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Does a school need a Principal?

Last night I started to write this - there was no way I could articulate what I wanted to express in just 28 minutes, so here's version two.

Initially I'd convinced myself that I might be superfluous - a scary reality. Am I necessary?
I'd managed to reroute admin jobs and saw the BOT taking a larger role in the development of the charter and that type of thing. I even had in independent appraiser working across schools to carry out staff appraisal. Yes it would be a major system change, but it was possible. That's  what I thought.

I looked across the room to the voice of reason, my wife, and told her I'd created a little ripple on Twitter by putting my post idea out there. Her reaction was to ask me who would synthesise everything and provide the direction of the school. That was her immediate reaction. Not - who would parents complain to, not who would run staff meetings or do the bus roster or any of those routine jobs. Synthesising and leading.

And of course, she's right. That's what Principal's do. Through listening to others they're able to bring all the ideas of the students, staff and community together and provide the direction that the school needs.  

So, while there's always a mountain of other tasks to do to keep the school ticking over, there are higher order tasks required. Creating a place that everyone loves being part of is a challenging and rewarding occupation. 

I've convinced myself again. Schools do need Principals. 

Now, what type of Principal does a school need?


  1. One like you Bede :). Great post!

  2. Great post! And I think your wife is completely right. A good principal is able to tie all of the big ideas needed in a school together. They think about how they can do it in a way that tells the story of their school, on that resonates and inspires the school community.

    We need principals who give permission to take risks. Who support the important things that can impact student learning with professional, financial and personal support.

    Teachers need to be able to teach. The principal is the first line of defense against distractions, allowing teachers to focus their efforts.

    We do need principals. But we need the good ones! The ones who are last in line for when things go well and first in line when things go wrong. Humble leaders who know their role is to support the teachers, students and wider community.

    Thanks for the great post Bede! I think any principal who can ask this question must be a good one!
    Awesome work on your #28daysofwriting, this comment was part of the #28daysofcommenting.



Is school just preparation for life?