Contact an Expert: 800-526-4677

What Makes a GREAT Principal?

What Makes a Great School Principal?

What Makes a Great School Principal?

We might not be clear about what makes a great principal but we sure know when we don’t have one! Whether you are a principal, teacher or part of the school staff, here are some key points everyone wants to have in their principal.

A people person – A good principal takes the time to get to know all the staff under his care. Support staff, such as maintenance crew and cafeteria personnel, are as important as the teachers. Know that a successful school is made up of a lot of people all doing their job to the best of their capacity. A good principal shows appreciation for everyone who keeps things running smoothly. When the principal respects them, they respect the principal-a crucial aspect of a successful school.

Times need to be set aside to get acquainted with community members, parents and students. Having relationships with people puts everyone on the same page for making their school a winner.

Maintaining an open door policy where people know that the principal can be counted on to have a fair, empathetic and listening ear sets a good tone. Hearing the voice of staff, students and community members alike will not only build trust between all parties but will also lead to better decision making for what is needed in the school.  

  1. A leader A good leader gives confidence to those around them that they are part of a winning team. Great principals take responsibility for both the successes and the failures of the school. They shower praise on those who work for the good and develop and share strategies to improve the mistakes.  
  1. Organized – Being a principal is an overwhelming job filled with endless tasks. Additionally, one might have her goals for the day only to be surprised by urgent situations (which just might happen all the time!).  

Therefore, creating a prioritized plan is crucial. Though one may be forced to get off task, she can come back to focused goals with ease.

Along these lines, a successful principal must have an outstanding administrative assistant and/or secretary. There is nothing like a skilled helper to keep one on track.

  1. Sets a great example – The principal needs to be the hardest worker in the building. Ideally, he should be the first one in and the last one out. 

Stories abound how student lives were changed forever for the better by their principal greeting them at the door with a smile as they started their day. Great principals share an encouraging word and/or notice a particularly bad mood and check the situation. Knowing that someone cares can change a person’s life. Additionally, it is known that put-together principals who insist that their students also look put-together build self-confidence in their students.

Principals with a positive attitude who show that they love what they do and the people around them build an atmosphere where everyone wants to join the uplifting bandwagon.

  1. Is fair and consistent – Successful principals have WRITEN and SHARED school policies. Nothing can take away credibility faster than being inconsistent in how similar situations are handled. Be sure that decisions can be explained because someone will certainly come to ask questions! 
  1. Is a visionary – Think BIG and Think GREAT! Education is constantly evolving and now-a-days it feels like it’s moving at a faster and faster pace. Stay on top of the latest developments in technology and teaching innovations. Though consistency is important, keeping your school on the cutting edge of style=”text-decoration: underline;”>successfulupgrades will excite not only your staff and students but also the principal! 

Being a great principal is a challenge. One needs to be multi-talented and multi-faceted to do it successfully. It comes with a lot of stress and a huge time commitment. Focusing on the above points can make things a bit easier. However, at the end of the day, the main goal of a principal must be student safety, health and academic success. 

What experiences have you had with great principals? We’d like to hear from you.



Ideas for this blog came from the following articles:


9 Responses to What Makes a GREAT Principal?

  1. Crissa Cook says:

    Nice article. Thanks for sharing.

  2. B A Abdul Razak says:

    A nice read ! Even now-a-days there are managers who think a Principal should behave as a ‘Boss’

    • Tsivya Fox says:

      I think there needs to be respected, respectable, and respecting leadership. It takes a great team to make a great school!

    • Funny that you say that. As I was reading the article I was thinking that it described characteristics of a great boss. There are many counter examples, examples of horrible bosses. So don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that a principal should behave like a bad boss. But anyone in a management position should aspire to meet this articles suggestions.

  3. James Troutman, Ed. D. says:

    Great Principals can provide a list of their former teachers and staff who are now great principals and school leaders. They inspired others to pursue greatness!

  4. Fatunase Kayode Lekan says:

    Mindful article. That’s nice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *