How Can You Support New Principals?
By Michael Hertting
I vividly remember the first phone call I received from my supervisors as a new principal. I had been on the job about two weeks, having been promoted from an assistant principal position at another school, and the start of the year was just around the corner.
Enrollment at my new school was growing and staff members asked if we would add another section of kindergarten. I wanted to know how this was done, so I contacted the administrator who had placed me in the position. The administrator, who had since accepted a new position in another district, evidently mentioned to my current supervisors that we had talked, hence the above-mentioned phone call.
Thinking they were calling to provide assistance, I was caught completely off guard when my supervisors started shouting at me over a conference phone about contacting someone outside the district. When I tried to explain that I wanted some background information so I could be a better advocate for my students, the supervisors said they would be the ones to provide such information.
I sat in my new office, feeling really low and thinking that if this was the type of support they would offer, then they would be the last people I would turn to if I needed help.
In time, we recovered from that inauspicious start, but the experience is forever etched in my mind. Now, as a professor who works with new and aspiring principals, I think of that phone call often as the topic of administrative support comes up.
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