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San Clemente, CA, United States

Thursday, June 30, 2011


My district has just filled two openings for High School Principal and we are currently looking to fill a third. I know a couple of the guys that applied and I've just finished reading about the two guys that ultimately got the jobs. All four of these guys could just about share resumes.

They all are in their mid to late 30's and have been in education for between 12 and17 years. They spent about half that time (6ish years) in the classroom and the rest of their time as assistant principals.


This ain't your father's high school.

Back in the day, principalships were filled by teachers who had spent 30 years in the classroom. It was almost as if the position was given as a reward for a career well done. After that, we went through the former football coach era. It seemed for about a decade, schools were run by the guy who used to wear the whistle.

Times, and the job bave changed. Where we used to hire (or at least that was what they claimed) educational leaders, we now hire politicians. Don't get me wrong. All four of the guys I referenced above are quality guys and will do fine jobs. But these men are all politicians, not educators.

These guys didn't spend 30 years in the classroom. They haven't been around long enough to have seen all the "flavor of the month" educational theories, practices and policies. After I had been teaching for 6 years, I thought I was great. Now, looking back on those days, I laugh at how much I didn't know and how much better I am today.

Principals now don't wander the hallways and interact with kids as much. They don't pop in to classrooms and interact or evaluate teachers as much. To the best of my knowledge, the daily grind of the high school principal includes taking calls from upset parents, dealing with disgruntled teachers, dealing with maintenance issues, spending time in IEP's, dealing with discipline issues and doing mountains of paperwork from our district office, the state, and NCLB.

The four men I referenced above know how to talk to people. They know how to organize. They know how to prioritize and they know when to listen and when to talk. These are good quality men who are good fits as principals. But they are not educators.

They are managers. The job has changed.

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