Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Things I wish I Knew Before I Became an Administrator

I was recently sent an e-mail from an aspiring administrator asking me for my responses to a few questions. My first thought was, "I don't have time for this" but after doing it I found it beneficial for me as well. I am certainly not saying I do all of these perfectly every day, but these are my honest answers. I hope you enjoy them.

- Things I wish I had known before I started

I knew being an administrator was late hours, but I guess I was still a little surprised at the amount of time after school. A HS administrator can away from home 4 nights a week until 9:30 or 10:00. This is especially difficult with small children.

- What is the biggest issue(s) facing your school right now?

I would say the biggest issue facing our school is attendance. Many students and parents don’t seem to see the correlation between school attendance and learning. We try everything we know to encourage attendance, but it seems to be a persistent problem.

- Top 10 important things to remember

1.    Be honest.
2.     Be fair.
3.     Be strong.
4.     Hire great people.
5.     You will never please everyone.
6.     It is not a popularity contest. You must do what is right for students.
7.     Don’t take a job for a boss that will not back your decisions. I have been fortunate to always have a boss that would back me and I can't imagine trying to be an administrator without their support. 
8.     There will be days you want to quit, but others you see that you made a difference.
9.     Always be fiscally responsible (some call it tight, but I prefer frugal).
10.  Never give up!

- Skills that you need to have to be a successful administrator

1.    Communication, communication, communication.
2.     Technology skills.
3.     Problem solving skills.
4.     Ability to see the big picture.

- What skills, characteristics do you look for in an assistant principal?

1.    Honest, trustworthy and loyal.
2.     Hard worker.
3.     Takes initiative and can self monitor.
4.     Great people skills.
5.     Desire to continue to learn.

- Tips for being successful with students

1.    Be honest with them.
2.     Treat them fairly.
3.     Build a rapport, but always keep a professional relationship. We must be friendly, but not their friend.
4.     Be consistent.

- Tips for being successful with parents

1.    Try to always remember you are dealing with the thing that the love the most in the entire world, their children.
2.     Most parents honestly want what is best for their child.
3.     Administrators must have the courage to deliver bad news.

- Tips for being successful with school staff, teachers, etc.

1.    Treat everyone fairly.
2.    Try to spend time getting to know them.
3.    Be available for them to ask questions.
4.     Even professionals must be accountable.

- Books and/or magazines that helped you and are useful

1.    What Great Principals Do Differently. – Todd Whitaker
2.     Shifting the Monkey.- Todd Whitaker
3.     The Energy Bus- Jon Gordon

- People/organizations you follow on Twitter, Facebook, etc. that have good ideas and suggestions

1.    Todd Whitaker

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