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What is a Principal?

Also known as: Primary School Principal, Elementary School Principal, High School Principal, School Manager, Headmistress, Headmaster, Headteacher, School Principal, Head Teacher.

A principal is someone who is the leader of an entire community within a school. He or she is responsible for managing the major administrative tasks and supervising all students and teachers. They are also known as head masters in some countries, as well as a few select schools in the United States.

What does a Principal do?

There are many duties of a school principal. Some of these duties include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The hiring of staff members
  • Communicating with parents and faculty when necessary
  • Creating policies (such as dress code)
  • Planning academic calendars for the school
  • Handling of student recruitment and admissions into the school
  • Disciplining students when needed
  • Supervising students, staff and other faculty members
  • Designing creative new programs and restructuring old ones
  • Handling of the schools budget
  • Maintaining secure funding for the school
  • Making both daily decisions as well as long-term decisions

What is the workplace of a Principal like?

Principals can work in colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, pre-schools and in daycare facilities. They usually have their own office as well as their own secretary, but can also be found working in classrooms, auditoriums and outdoors during special events.

They work long hours, often working into the evening. Principals work closely with vice-principals, teachers and other faculty with the common goal of providing a rich and safe learning environment for the students.

How can I become a Principal?

Good educational administrators will have all the following attributes:

  • The ability to make beneficial and constructive decisions
  • A great deal of determination
  • Excellent skills in both leadership and supervision
  • Strong and effective communication and interpersonal skills
  • A broad knowledge of the practices in schools
  • Knowledge of computer technology
  • Basic psychology

A school principal must work first as a teacher. To become a teacher, one will need a bachelor's degree in education. Teachers are also required to have a license or a teachers certificate in the state or province in which they teach. Requirements vary in different countries, however almost all of them need a bachelors degree, an amount of "supervised" teaching, and the successful completion of an examination. This exam includes such things as literacy, teaching ability and subject knowledge. Some schools need a person to work as a teacher for several years before he or she can become a principal.

The degrees and certifications required for a career as a principal also vary. In most public schools, however, principals need to have a masters degree in either educational leadership or educational administration. These programs include such courses as finance, leadership, curriculum planning, law, and human resources. Some principals also have a doctoral or a specialized degree and will have completed an internship.

The field of school principal is a rapidly growing field and there are many traditional as well as online schools offering programs. There is a lot of room for advancement in the educational field as well. Many principals receive promotions by being transferred to a place that offers more responsibility. Other types of promotions include being promoted to a superintendent or an institutions president.



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Further Reading

  • 15 Tips For The New Principal

    This is the season of new beginnings. Administrators search for novel ways to inspire their staffs and balance exciting initiatives and necessary mandates into a vision that will move a faculty. But for many educators, it is their first taste of the Principalship as they receive an endorsement from a School Board and Superintendent to be a building leader for the first time.

  • What Is It Like To Be A Principal?

    So you want to be a principal? I absolutely love being a principal, and I feel like for the most part that I do my job pretty well. With that said there are times when I sit down at the end of the day and wonder what I’ve gotten myself into and whether or not I’m cut out to do this.

  • Leadership Qualities Teachers Want In A Principal

    Every year in the United States, an estimated 500,000 teachers leave their schools, with only 16% of the departures the result of retirement. The bulk of teachers leave for a variety of other reasons, including whether or not they perceive their school’s leadership to be effective.

  • Qualities Of Effective Principals

    Educational leaders are tasked with establishing a collective vision for school improvement and initiating change to spur innovation, ensure student learning, and increase achievement.

  • Become A Principal

    Not everyone is meant to become a principal. A school principal’s day can be long and stressful. You have to be organized, solve problems, manage people well, and be able to separate your personal life from your professional life.

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