Although there are many qualities that are essential for effective school principalship (e.g. being supportive of staff in making instructional changes, recognizing successes of individuals, establishing a regular process to track impact, etc.), the three that I believe are most critical are being a systems thinker, promoting collaborative problem solving and open communication, and making evidence-based decisions for school improvement. In all school settings, principals must establish a clear focus on attaining student achievement goals. The data should be used to develop and execute improvement plans. But creating a collaborative environment is potentially the most important factor for successful school initiatives.
Creating and sustaining change requires forming a critical mass of educators who are willing to function as change agents. As such, I work in partnership with all stakeholders in the school improvement process. I share student achievement data with all stakeholders and provide time for collaborative problem solving. My priorities in this regard are devoted to demonstrating effective group-process and consensus-building skills as well as plainly communicating the progress we make toward reaching the goals of our shared vision.
Principals should model and train staff to frequently collect, analyze, and use data to inform instruction. We must solicit the input of the major stakeholders to ensure that all perceptions and attitudes are represented in the data analysis process. This is why I use a variety of tools and technologies to organize and examine data sets as well as gauge the assessment competencies of my staff so I may bridge possible gaps through professional development. Moreover, I enable the development of an improvement plan in which goals, evidence of attainment, objectives, and strategies are clearly aligned as well as clearly articulated.
Finally, the school environment is well-known for having a long list of priorities that change often. This frequently leaves teachers without a clear sense of what is vital for them to highlight in the classroom. Effective principals must make sure that all parts of the school community are aware of and in alignment with the school’s goals. This interconnectedness is critical to communicate clearly so that all stakeholders see the effect of their work. It's because of this that I strive to align school resources with our improvement goals and identify the key processes that impact results. Most importantly, I keep our focus on school improvement efforts by aligning time, money, and staff development opportunities with the school’s objectives and goals.