Are You Ready for the Principalship?

Posted By: Dana Schon, Ed.D. Asst/Assoc Principals, Leadership,

With the launch of “hiring season,” you may be wondering when or if a transition to the lead principal is right for you. These self-assessment strategies from NAESP can help inform your decision-making.

In the absence of formal pipelines in most districts, assistant/associate principals and deans may not have clarity regarding the pathway to the principalship. Though many APs/deans and principals speak to their shared responsibilities, most agree that the principalship is a distinctively different role from that of AP/dean. To gauge whether you’re ready, NAESP encourages you to consider the following factors:

  • Career Goals: Do you want to pursue a principalship, and if so, when? The principal leads the district goals at the building level. As an AP/Dean, you need to “own” those goals as well.
  • Skill Alignment: Does your skill set align with those identified in the ISSL and progressions?
  • Learner Mindset: Do you pursue opportunities for professional growth in leadership skills, instructional strategies, and equity-centered practices? Do you engage in workshops, conferences, and networking to enhance your expertise?
  • Leader Mindset: Do you approach your current role with a focus on the broader goals of the school and district and how your contributions align with district and building mission and vision?
  • Relationships: Do you seek to build quality relationships with the administrative team, staff, students, parents, families, the community, and your colleagues outside of the district?
  • Mentoring and Coaching: Do you seek input and advice from your mentor? Do you engage in coaching?
  • Continuous Improvement: Do you take time to reflect, seek feedback, and determine next steps for growth and development? Do you celebrate your achievements?

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