School Leadership

The Ever-Growing Role of the Assistant Principal

In an unexpected way, being from Alaska actually helped me prepare for my role as the 2019 NASSP Assistant Principal of the Year. When you are from Alaska, you get asked a lot of the same questions over and over again when you meet new people. So I was prepared when in this role, I was asked: “What are your responsibilities as assistant principal?” In honor of National Assistant Principal Week, I would like to share just a fraction of what assistant principals do every day: (more…)

Taking Time for Self-Care

Principals and assistant principals experience many different pulls on their position as leaders in their building. We wear different hats as leaders. The principal is the managerial leader who ensures that the building operates as efficiently as possible; the instructional leader who evaluates and coaches staff to improve student achievement; the motivational leader who maintains and improves the culture and climate of the building, both with staff and with students; the political capital leader who is the face of the school, even at its highest and lowest times; and the ethical leader who balances their personal life with the multifaceted demands of the principalship. (more…)

A Fish Out of Water, Just Learning How to Breathe Again

Does anyone else feel like a fish out of water right now, just trying to learn how to breathe again? I have felt this way for the last two weeks. As a high school principal for nearly 15 years, I thought at this point in my career I had seen it all, but then COVID-19 introduced me to the terms “social distancing” and “remote learning.” Almost overnight, what I knew about being an effective school leader changed drastically, as I am sure it has for you. We all have been thrust “out of our pond” and into a world of uncertainty, but one in which our schools need our courage, creativity, and leadership more than ever before. We have to find a way to learn how to breathe again. (more…)

The School Leader as Connector in Chief During #COVID19

Never in a million years did I think I would be writing a blog post on how school and district leaders are supporting stakeholder efforts while locked down in their homes due to a worldwide pandemic. But here we are, looking COVID-19 square in the face as it impacts our students, staff, and parents in ways once thought unimaginable. These are challenging times. And yet, challenging times present opportunities for school and district leaders to lead in unconventional ways—such as from a dining room table or living room couch. (more…)

A Principal’s COVID-19 Diary: Perspective

Because I’m moderately overwhelmed by the admirable level of virtue that I see on social media amongst, well, everybody, especially educators, I’m hard-pressed to find something original I can contribute during this crisis. But I’m reminded of what my mentor told me: “When it comes to leadership, the best thing you have to offer is your authentic voice—your stories.” (more…)

My Letter to Families: ‘We Will Get Through This’

Leaving school last Friday, I’m not sure that any of us knew what to expect. I know as I leave tonight, for the last time for a while, I’m feeling similar emotions. Tuesday was our last day with kids, Wednesday with staff. Our building will be shut down beginning this Friday afternoon. It’s surreal. (more…)

How Twitter Can Serve as a COVID-19 School Resource

With the “new normal” that we are all facing and trying to navigate during the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantines, communicating with our school community has a sense of urgency about it unlike anything we’ve ever faced. We’re all looking for ways to connect. I’m often asked, “Should we use Twitter, email, Instagram, or Facebook?” And I just say, “Yes.” (more…)

Passion and the Principalship

Leadership in the K–12 educational setting is challenging. Everyone looks for the one magic formula to address various grade levels, communities in a district with different needs, best instructional practices, behavior, supervision, managerial duties, governmental statutes, central office responsibilities, and myriad other challenges. And every leader in a school setting is different. Years of experience, education level, teaching background, and personal history all have an impact on an individual principal’s perspective. (more…)

The Power of Walk-Through Observations

Think back to when you were a classroom teacher. Imagine your principal walking into your classroom to conduct a walk-through observation. Does a wave of anxiety wash over you? Do you dread the fact that they are sitting in your classroom? Do you wonder, but never learn, what they are thinking when it comes to your classroom instruction because you simply never receive any feedback? Unfortunately, many teachers harbor these feelings about walk-through observations, but it doesn’t have to be this way! (more…)

NASSP Highlights the Impact of U.S. Census in Free Virtual Event

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau seeks to record the population throughout the country. On March 5, NASSP invited Jocelyn Bissonette, director of the Funders Census Initiative at the Funders Committee for Civic Participation; and Trevor Greene, superintendent at Yakima Public Schools, to share insights during a virtual event about the significance of this data—and why it matters for school leaders. (more…)