You’ve Landed the Job. Now What?

After years of building your leadership portfolio and proving your passion for education, you’ve finally become a school principal. These tips can help you have the best start possible.

Topics: Early Career Principals, Principal Leadership, Professional Development

After years of building your leadership portfolio and proving your passion for education, you’ve finally become a school principal. It’s a big deal to you—and to your school community. But there is still plenty of work to do and challenges to unpack. How can you get off to the best start as you step into this new role?

In an episode of the NAESP Principal Podcast, hosts Rachael George and Adam Welcome talked to special guest Rosalba Rodriguez about advice for aspiring principals and strategies she’s using as she makes the jump from assistant principal to principal in her school district.

Interview Advice for Aspiring Principals

  • Connect with principals who have gone through the process. Rodriguez, before her first interview, reached out to her network—#SisterCircle school leaders—who formed a panel to conduct a mock interview with her.
  • Reflect at every stage in the process. Before the first interview, it’s key to create a portfolio that shows your progression as a leader and how you’ve had an impact on your students, school, and community. But it’s important to also consider what you’re doing now as an assistant principal to make a difference.
  • Lean on your people. Getting support and guidance from the people closest to you who want to see you succeed will go a long way in boosting your confidence going into an interview process.

Strategies for the First 100 Days

  • Reconnect the faculty and staff. With so many schools finishing out the previous school year remotely or in a hybrid model, in-person connection is top of the list of priorities for building a strong, connected team this new school year. Rodriguez is focused on how she can support her faculty and staff’s social-emotional needs.
  • Honor traditions. In the first 100 days, Rodriguez is meeting with the principal she’s replacing to learn traditions in the school, talking to the faculty and staff about what’s working—and what isn’t, and getting to know the community.
  • Meet and greet with teachers, staff, and families. Start by building relationships with the office staff, who are the conduit to so many other people in the school. Rodriguez is hosting “Coffee With the Principal” and Zoom meet-and-greets with her team members and her school families to learn about them and get to know their goals and priorities. This also gives her the chance to introduce herself to her team and to her community.

Listen to the podcast episode for more strategies for new school leaders.