Posts Tagged ‘ whatgreatprincipalsdodifferently ’

What Great Principals Do Differently #2


This is the second post of my review of Todd Whitaker’s book (as mentioned in the title.)

Todd notes some important points about developing your teachers.  Basically, if you inherit the staff, the only way to make the school better is to make them better.  However, if you get a chance to hire a teacher, then hire a leader.  Essentially, hire someone who has talent and will influence both students and staff.  Whitaker states that all great principals should have a goal where the school should become more like the new teacher.

For the above to occur, it is essential that new teachers keep their enthusiasm.  Hence, new teachers must be made welcome and feel empowered.  There cannot be a “pecking order” where only the ideas of senior staffers are listened to.  Also, begin induction at the first interview.  If you feel you have a strong prospect, lay out your expectations at this time.  This point resonated with me because I have used similar techniques when interviewing candidates.  However, I need to improve and expnad on my ideas.  Ask questions outside  the usual, “What’s your philosophy of education” type questions.  Ask scenario type questions to see if you are on the same page as the candidate.  Your potential leaders may look you in the eye and make a committment during this process.  Also, you can state what you expect of them.  This way the candidate can get a feel for your school and the dynamics of the position.

I could go on but I want to keep these posts concise and provide a “snapshot” of the book.  Check the link above to find a copy or your professional collection at school/board office.

What Great Principals Do Differently


I thought I would share the book I am currently reading (title of post is title of book.)  I found out about it through our provincial administrators association and borrowed it from the Stewart Resouce Center library. 

The book covers a number of topics – fifteen in total.  As I go though this resource, I will blog about some items that stood out for me.

The latest item was the principal is the filter.  By this, Todd Whitaker means that principals not only filter information for staff – to make life easier, but filter things in the day-to-day reality of the school.    Essentially, principals can set the tone of what happens in a building on a particular day.  This can include interactions with staff, students and parents.  If  administrators can keep the focus on the issues that matter and keep away from trivial matters, the school will benefit overall.

I have tried to emulate this for quite some time now.  In our building, I do believe I can have influence on the general mood each day.  With so many eyes on the administrator each day, one must remember how to conduct themselves – verbally and non-verbally.  I am constantly aware of the perception I present and try to keep communication clear and flowing.  Some days are easier than others, but I find perception to be a crucial element for a school administrator.  As years have passed, I believe I am more aware now of the perceptions I present and I try to focus on the positive.

So far, this is one of the better books I have read on leadership.  I believe both new and old administrators can benefit from this resource. 

Tune in for more reviews!