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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The 12 MOST Things I Learned Being a HS Principal

After four years as an Assistant High School Principal/Athletic Director, and finally transitioning to my 1st principal ship,  reflections over this period of time are numerous.  Listed below, and which other professionals serving in the same capacity can identify, is a brief list for argument or enjoyment sake;

#1  You literally don't have the time, and must go out of your way to make the time, to simply use the restroom.  The answer is try to take care of this before and after your 10-15 hour day. 

#2  Being in charge of discipline for an enrollment of 1000 kids is no cake walk.  You are amongst the most hated persons on the campus.  The answer is to spread YOUR love and  peace with your words and actions at all times. 

#3  There is no winning or losing as an Assistant Principal.  It is an endless journey.  Some may say a battle or struggle?  The answer is to press on relentlessly for the education and well being of ALL your constituents and productivity and progress. 

#4  Many students, in realization of their mistake(s) in high school will go to great lengths to not tell the truth for many reasons.  The answer its not to JUDGE but to help the child!  Be  diligent and use learned investigative strategies and tools for communication to get the truth out. 

#5  There are three kinds of people in general.  The answer is there are those that make things happen.  Those that watch things happen, and finally those that continually say "what happened?" 

#6  You should have three guiding principles to teach your colleagues, staff and students.  The answer is take care of little people.  Take care of old people, and take care of the animals. 

#7  You constantly are under immense pressure to do the right thing.  The question is, what is the right thing?  The problem is, regardless of what you think, others will disagree!  The answer is to follow your conscience and your heart based on your values and principles.  One side will never agree or see eye to eye.  Remember, those who really matter don't mind, and those who mind don't really matter. 

#8  Never before, even as a Marine, did I have so much going on simultaneously.  If there is something as multi tasking you had better prepare yourself!  The answer is you have to be a master at prioritizing.  It is essential you are organized and document and be meticulous in taking and keeping anecdotal notes. 

#9  Your character and the way you carry yourself at all times is under the microscope literally.  The answer is you must be professional always in the way you act, dress and communicate.  Try to remember to not listen to what people say, but watch what they DO. 

#10 Teenagers, as well as teachers, come in all varieties as there are 8 billion individuals on earth.  Like them, we all share much weight and carry it on ours shoulders in today's day and age.  You must be resilient and tuned to their every thought, expression and word.  The answer is to have compassion for everyone and passion for what it is you do. 

#11 Sadly, but unfortunately true, it is very difficult to trust pretty much anyone nowadays.  You must strive to believe and see the best in EVERYONE regardless.  The answer as previously alluded, is to stay true to yourself and the notion that what you are doing is in the best interest of each and every indivdual you have either a direct or indirect impact.  Let the naysayers and critics who boast about your flaws and incompetencies beyond your earshot do what they do best-gossip perhaps? 

#12 Having to spend nearly 2/3rds of your day either outside or moving in and throughout hallways, corridors, classrooms, school grounds and restrooms be sure you are prepared for everything as well as the unexpected.  The answer is to manage and lead by observation and wandering around.  You will achieve and gain more respect from all your constituents by doing this daily chore without ever having to utter another word on any given day. 




  1. #1 - Take your cell phone when you go to the toilet. If a caller asks "where are you," you have my permission to prevaricate.
    #2 - There are no "bad kids." When you say this to someone who just said it, they are likely to see things differently. You can also try "they are all God's children." When it comes to discipline, always appeal to the student's self-interests. Try the Dr. Phil line, "how's that working for you?"
    #6 View all students, staff, and parents as your customers and that it is your job to serve and satisfy them.
    Great post. Keep up the good work. Let me know if you want more.

  2. Great thoughts and insights Doug. Please share more for our colleagues and myself if you do not mind? Yours in the fight brother!