The Principalship

Being Wrong Isn’t Always Bad—Sometimes It’s the Right Thing to Do

Guest post by Donald Gately

There is an event that every principal anticipates with varying degrees of trepidation. It is something students are excited and nervous about as well: the year-opening school letter telling kids who their teachers are going to be.  (more…)

Building School Culture by Starting Small

Guest post by Duane Kline

I have an admission to make. It turns out that after 31 years as a public school educator, I think school culture is the most important part of schooling. More important than curriculum, more important than assessment. Additionally, its importance is not solely for the benefit of students, but for the teachers and staff members who make the school what it is for the students. (more…)

Prohibiting Student Protest Challenges the Very Purpose of School

By JoAnn Bartoletti

The current controversy over athletes taking a knee during the national anthem has reignited the debate over appropriate student expression. In terms of student rights, there seems little to discuss. Courts have affirmed and reaffirmed that students do not check their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse gate, and speech cannot be curtailed unless it creates a material disruption to the educational process. (more…)

School Leadership Starts at Home

Guest post by Steve Carlson

This year, the Carlson family finally all takes the same path in the morning. Now that my youngest is in kindergarten, my wife, three children, and I spend our days in the Sandusky Community School District. I know that many others have enjoyed this experience, but having it happen in our family has given me a new perspective. For starters, it is nice to know that the long hours I put in as Sandusky Junior/Senior High School principal have a direct impact on my family. More than this, having my entire family under the same “school roof” has motivated me to lead our school to benefit all families and taught me some valuable lessons. (more…)

My Conversation With Betsy DeVos

By JoAnn Bartoletti

Maybe it should have been enough that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos chose the 2017 NASSP Principals Institute for her first address at a major national education association event. But to maximize the opportunity, NASSP President Dan Kelley and I spoke privately with the secretary about a few top-of-mind issues for NASSP and for the school leaders we represent. (more…)

Why Getting Mugged by a Blockhead is a Good Thing for Teacher Retention

Guest post by Melissa D. Hensley

Central High School, an 800-student school in rural Woodstock, VA, has felt the effects of the national teacher shortage this year. We replaced a third of our staff as teachers left for higher paying jobs or relocated to take positions closer to their family. This high turnover rate alarmed us and caused our staff to discuss the impact of teacher turnover and develop a teacher-led strategic plan to increase retention. These efforts have led to a renewed commitment from our teachers to support each other and strengthen our school community.  (more…)

Four Mindsets to LEAP Into Innovation 

Guest post by Bill Ziegler

How can principals lead learning in a way where students want to run to school rather than away from it? This challenge can be daunting, but it’s one that requires our full focus as we strive to design schools where students see a practical and relevant connection, creativity being nurtured, and real-world problems being solved. This requires school leaders to think differently, to innovate, and to lead with courage.  (more…)

What an NFL Coach Can Teach High School Administrators

Guest post by Jay R. Townsend

What do NFL coaches and high school administrators have in common? Certainly not the pay or the publicity. But they both build people and teams. And you can learn a lot about how to build a winning school team from former NFL head coach Tony Dungy. I have been a huge fan of Dungy’s leadership style, and the lessons that I have learned from his book The Mentor Leader have helped me design a strong playbook for my students and staff. (more…)

Strong Leaders Find Time to Take Care of Themselves

Guest post by Annette Wallace

Thirteen days into my principalship, at the age of 30, I suddenly and violently lost my father. He struggled with mental health issues and alcohol addiction for years  and tragically succumbed to suicide.

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Collateral Culture: The School You Didn’t Know You Were Building

Guest post by Danny Steele

We all know the culture of our school is important, and you understand that building a strong one is how school leaders can impact student achievement. You intuitively understand that schools need to be safe; they need to foster collaboration; and they need to stay focused on the needs of the students. But don’t ever underestimate the small things you do on a daily basis that contribute to the strength of your school culture. (more…)