First, be kind. We are new to you and we may need an adjustment period. We know you have many changes and visions for our school but take some time to get to know us first. Figure out the dynamics of our school and see what really works before you start to change and dismantle. There are many powerful things happening that would be sad to see destroyed.
Second, know your way. We want to be led by someone with a vision, someone who has convictions. And yet, make sure your vision doesn’t cloud your judgment. Does it fit with our culture? Does it fit with the community we get to call home? Does it fit with us and you and all of the kids? If yes, then go ahead, if not, then perhaps discuss, reflect and reevaluate. For whom are these changes being made?
Third, make it about the children. We have always been focused on the students and want to stay that way. So get to know them as you get to know us, make yourself visible and always keep their interest in mind. Trust me, the children would rather not be tested more or discussed as mere numbers on the wall. They do not care what standard they are being taught right now but instead whether the curriculum is engaging, relevant and allows them a choice and voice. They are complicated, delicate, curious beings that we are privileged to work with. Relationship first, then we can get to the academics.
Don’t exclude us but think of us as your team. We want you to be successful as much as you want us to stay that way. Believe in us and our crazy ideas. Push us to do new things but know when to hold back and perhaps even hold our hand a little. Trust us as professionals who do really want what is best for the kids but sometimes need some guidance. Bring in new ideas but one at a time, let us figure out one before we rush into something new. Don’t micromanage but believe in our judgment and also in our dreams. Make friends but don’t create cliques, we are a family here and yes we may disagree but we take pride in who we are and what we create. Trust us as professionals and defend our decisions if you agree with them. Don’t lose yourself in trying to please everyone. Be fair but listen to all the sides, don’t take sides whenever you can.
Don’t punish when it doesn’t fit the crime, whether student or staff. Push us to excel and give us someone to look up to. There are many leaders in this school but look for new ones as well, there are people here who who have such incredible ideas but never can find the words to share them. Tell us when we do well, tell us when you notice something and do the same for the kids.
Welcome, new principal, I don’t envy your position but we are excited to have you. We hope you are everything we have hoped for.