Tag Archives: leadership

Vol.#88: A New Principal Wish List

I am in my fifteenth year of teaching. In that time, I have had eight principals, including two interim principals. That current, eighth principal, who just hired me this school year, has been named a high-school principal in a neighboring county.

girl-619689_1280Part of the process in my county of employment is for the area superintendent to come and speak with the staff about their wishes for the new principal before they begin interviews. I’ve attended four of these meetings before. Each one has been distinctly different, but also had some recurring themes.

The Media Specialist at my school wrote the following about what she wants in a principal. She posted it on her blog, The Keeper of All Wisdom, Folly, and Knowledge, and also allowed me to share it here with you.

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What I want in a future principal

I want a principal who will take the time to understand and truly appreciate the culture of positive learning that has been created at our middle school.

I want a principal who loves middle schoolers with all their quirkiness and hormonal energy.

I want a principal who listens to her students when they want to share a problem or concern, or just updates about what television show they watched last night.

I want a principal who lets her teachers take risks, allowing her teachers to try innovative instruction.

I want a principal who empowers her teachers to take on leadership roles and who supports their professional growth.

I want a principal who is well respected in the community, who makes connections with parents and business leaders.

I want a principal who is a teacher leader first and foremost, never forgetting what it takes to do the hard stuff of teaching on a daily basis.

I want a principal who stands up for her teachers and students when the time comes.

I want a principal who listens to her teachers when they have a concern or a problem or a solution or they just want to share some personal news.

I want a principal who is seen on the campus, in the classroom, in the media center, in the cafeteria, on the athletic field.

I want a principal who implements strong teaching and learning programs that will impact student achievement.

I want a principal who makes the most of her dollars, imploring sound financial abilities to effectively and efficiently provide the materials and resources to run our school.

I want a principal who recognizes, appreciates, and supports all levels of learners from special needs students to academically gifted students.

I want a principal who understands and can effectively assess the data to make important instructional decisions and support successful teaching practices.

I want a principal who is honest, tenacious, caring, professional, vibrant, personable, organized, savvy, accountable, objective, and positive.  I want a principal who is “real”.

I want a principal who is a cheerleader, recognizing teacher and staff professional achievements and student academic, behavior, and athletic achievements.

I want a principal who communicates her expectations to her teachers, students, and parents.

I want a principal who asks questions.

I want a principal who realizes that this is “our” school – it belongs to all of us– the staff, students, parents and community — and we are all vested in our future.

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Here’s to number nine being all this and more.

Something you’d add? Please post it in the comments.

Vol.#31: Change, Change, Change (Change of Fools)

The NC legislature, which has sparked the weekly peaceful protests known as “Moral Monday“, named budget conferees last week. The first 17 people arrested back in April (out of the almost 500 arrests thus far) have had their hearings set for late September By the time the court is hearing their cases, traditional calendar school will be getting underway and year round school will be in its third month.

As they hash out the final budget negotiations, we await to hear which budget proposal the compromises will favor. Although in the past five years teachers’ salaries have been frozen and state funding for public schools has fallen by $170 million, right now the best we can hope in most cases for is to maintain this fairly miserable status quo. 

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 7.45.19 PMThe chart to the right was created by NCAE and can be viewed here with more details. The bold green text indicates which budget on an  issue NCAE prefers.

“No change”.

It’s not what one would expect to be hoping for, considering things are so dismal. Rodney Ellis (president of the N.C. Association of Educators) has been quoted as saying: Continue reading Vol.#31: Change, Change, Change (Change of Fools)

Vol.#29: Well, A Happy Anniversary to Me

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Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/theresasthompson/2311733808/

Today marks one-year from my very first post on “Teaching Speaks Volumes” titled Vol.#1: Saying Goodbye. I had planned on writing the predictable retrospective post with analysis on how blogging has changed me this year.

However, sometimes an opportunity for material simply presents itself.

My post last week about the NC Senate budget went viral. Well, by my standards, anyway. I am typically excited to get four or five hundred visits per post on TSV. However, when last I checked, “The Blame Game” had received 62,869 visitors and counting. Discussion in the 60+ comments has given me several topics I look to writing about in upcoming posts.

Apparently when I wrote viscerally and emotionally, it was entertaining. However, it also did not reflect my best research. That post was truly “shot from the hip” and it shows in the facts: Continue reading Vol.#29: Well, A Happy Anniversary to Me

Vol.#17: A Choice Education

“My neighbor’s kid has been in Wake County schools for six years, and his school has changed six times. He has no childhood friends. Why does the county do that?”

I have no answer for this stranger who, upon learning I am a public school teacher for WCPSS, demands it. His tone is curious with only a hint of accusing. He knows I personally did not set any policies, but he’s grappling for a logical reason. Some counter argument which I cannot provide. This county is infamous known for the sometimes contentious board meetings and how it repeatedly rearranges student reassignment. Though the news has explained they are touting choice and address-based models and assuring students will be “grandfathered in”, it does not always seem to coincide with the stories from some parents like this one speaking to me now.

Actually, as a parent I know little about it as well. I am fortunate that the county accommodated my request to have my son at the year-round elementary school that is adjacent to and feeds into the middle school where I teach. There’s even a bus that runs to and from the school to bring him from and deliver him to my school. Therefore, I missed much of the agonizing analysis many parents experience.

Image Credit:http://artschools.com/resources/how-to-choose-an-art-school
Image Credit:
http://artschools.com/resources/how-to-choose-an-art-school

This past week, letters went home to parents about the 2013-14 school year assignment and their choices. I sent them home to my homeroom, as well as received one from my son’s teacher. I decided to go to the Wake County Student Enrollment & Assignment page myself. There’s lots of information on choices and many, many magnet programs. Curious, I entered my own address into the page provided to look up base schools we’re assigned. Continue reading Vol.#17: A Choice Education

Vol.#13: Metamorphosis

met·a·mor·pho·sis

a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism

This past week marked the third and final Professional Development Institute for myself and the other 2013 Kenan Fellows. It will likely be the last time we see each other until the celebratory events planned at the end of the year when the Fellowship is completed. It was wonderful to see everyone, though it was far too brief. As always, I learned so much more from them than it feels I must ever give back. (I’m looking at you Karen and Vance.)

I don’t know if other Fellows have been experiencing some of the same seismic shifts at their schools that Continue reading Vol.#13: Metamorphosis