kitchen table math, the sequel: Jen on good administrators

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Jen on good administrators

Jen wrote:
I've bumped up against some excellent administrators -- at the principal level, that is. I don't know if there are really exceptional higher level administrators, though I assume they must exist at some (small) percentage of the population.

I've also run up against really horrendous principals.

Differences in principals are hard to describe -- it does feel like a "you'll know it when you see it" situation.

Good admins encourage things -- that is, they support the ideas and activities of their teachers. That's not to say that all ideas are then fully implemented. But, they are secure enough to allow innovation and change and also enough of a leader to then analyze results and reward the good and end the bad.

Going along with that -- they don't expect every teacher to look and sound and teach alike, though they do expect that all teachers will have the ability to teach and move kids toward the goals that should be set in the district/school's scope and sequence.

They are not wedded to ONE current idea about instruction/behavior/etc but are able to use the better ideas from a selection of "best practices."

Great admins are NOT loved by every employee and parent, but they do get a lot of respect and are able to deal honestly with people who disagree with them.

Bad admins are generally ONLY liked by a few employees and parents, who are thought of as their "pets" by the majority of teachers and parents.

Good admins deal directly with the people they have problems with and clearly spell out those issues and their expectations for what needs to change.

Bad admins drop hints, tell other people about the problems, do not listen to both sides of an issue before making decisions, and generally keep covering their own butts as their main goal.

I think that you could revise these attributes upwards for higher level admins -- just adding that their interactions with principals should look like a good principal's interactions with teachers and parents.

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