What Makes a Good School Administrator
Being a school administrator can be one of the most challenging but rewarding jobs you can have. Your responsibility lies in educating students, as well as being a prime role model for them to look up to. Being a great school administrator may begin with a college degree. But your success is truly defined by personal leadership qualities that set up your students to be successful, responsible and accountable in and out of the classroom.
Whether you've had a long career of teaching or are just starting out in your leadership role, adopting the qualities of a good school administrator can make all the difference in preparing your students for adulthood and long-term success. While there isn't an exact formula for becoming an ideal school administrator, you can become the best resource and guide for your students by leading by example and learning how to be a successful school administrator.
What Is a School Administrator?
As you may already know, a school administrator comes in many forms. The title is applicable to principals, superintendents and everyone on campus who has a leadership role. This can be head teachers, vice principals, disciplinarians, school program directors and anyone else who oversees administrative tasks within primary, secondary and post-secondary schools. A school administrator will manage and organize the operations within a classroom and on campus while ensuring the safety, growth and development of the students.
To become a school administrator, an individual will acquire a degree in education administration or a similar field. Common degree levels for this role are master's, Educational Specialist, Doctor of Education and PhD in Education. In many states, an aspiring administrator will have to apply for a certification or license, as well as have experience teaching in a classroom. This allows them to better relate with the responsibilities and challenges of an educator. For additional information on how to attain an administration certificate within your state, you can visit the Department of Education website.
About the School Administrator Role
A school administrator takes on more responsibility than you may realize. The duties of an administrator will vary depending on the school's size and the level and type of education offered. Today, school administrators are expected to:
- Create collaborative environments between teachers and faculty.
- Provide effective instructional leadership.
- Create and adhere to a budget.
- Hire and train staff members.
- Provide opportunities for leadership growth for faculty members.
- Make strategic decisions.
- Design educational programming.
- Manage scheduling and record-keeping.
- Resolve conflicts.
- Prepare for the best and worst-case scenarios.
- Communicate with the student body, faculty, parents and school board.
- Ensure the school adheres to necessary laws and regulations.
- Be the prime example of school pride and leadership.
With the fast-paced development of technology, spreading of falsified data, discovery of new information, constant access to the internet, and the changing work styles of parents, educational staff are faced with new challenges and responsibilities every year. It is up to school administrators to manage these changes, pave the way for order and adaptation, and conform to increasing financial cutbacks. This means that school administrators need creative and dependable strategies for ensuring their students' and staff's growth and success.
Qualities of a Good School Administrator
As a leader in the school, everyone who walks through the building depends on you for guidance in daily decisions and unpredictable disputes. Your role also extends beyond a leadership position. Your influence as a friend, advisor and mentor to students and staff is what will transform your school. Adopting the following qualities can help you understand your duties and create a lasting impact:
1. Embracing Your School's Vision and Mission
There is an unfortunate stigma of children dreading going to school. While the media and other sources propagate this, you have the chance to change the image of school life. Just like a mascot, you represent your school's values and mission visually and internally. This means that while donning your business attire, you need to put on your school spirit hat and show pride in your school.
It also means visualizing the best within your school and manifesting that vision for your students and teachers. Students and teachers will recognize your initiation and trust in your decisions as a leader. You need to create realistic long-term and short-term goals to bring the school's mission to life. By investing in your school's ideals, you are gaining that investment back with the support of your staff and students.
2. Cultivating Community and Communication
As the head of the school, you are the person everyone looks to for information and guidance. When something goes wrong, it's up to you to resolve the conflict. When good news arrives, it's your duty to be excited and openly share it with students and teachers. The students, staff and parents are investing their time, money and resources into your school. They have a right to know where those resources are being allocated and how they are being used to improve student and teacher life.
A successful leader knows how to bring the members of their group together and develop an efficient team. You should be approachable, friendly and accepting to every member of your community. School leaders are visible at functions and have open communication with key individuals who are involved in a student's success. This can transform your school into a fun learning and nurturing environment.
Read more about how to effectively engage your students and sharpen their focus.
3. Being Open and Adaptive to Change
Technology has completely changed the teaching profession. From the innovation of the SMART Board to total online transitions, it's safe to say that teaching is nothing like it was 10 years ago. In the 2010s, standardized testing and the Obama Administration's initiatives changed the purpose and goal of education. The 2020s have shifted the climate back to personalized interactions with mental health checks, frequent teacher evaluations and confrontation of current issues.
The news is everywhere, and children are very much aware of the world around them. While you have a duty to remain neutral, these changes also call you to be open and adaptive. There is no way to predict what the future holds. However, you can anticipate that you will be a figurehead in the incorporation or exclusion of technological and environmental developments.
Use these changes to improve your students' and teachers' surroundings and programming to aid success and growth. Remember, you set the standard and will be held accountable to represent the greater interest of the school.
4. Utilizing Data for Greater Development
One of the many benefits of today's technology is that useful information is available and easily accessible. Successful school administrators use the information provided by standardized tests, current surveys, and statistics and assessments to drive innovation and improvements to strategically benefit students. Data gives you the opportunity to make informed decisions. Learning to ask useful questions and share practical information in an engaging way will create an environment for collaboration and progress.
5. Demonstrating Honesty and Integrity
Making decisions on the fly is a necessary trait for developing leaders. Unfortunately, not every decision you make will be the right one or the most popular. As a consistent presence in a child's life, you hold them to a standard of upholding honesty and integrity. Just as you trust your students not to cheat on a test or quit a sport's team mid-season, your students and faculty are trusting you to be their voice and do what's best for the school.
No one is perfect. When you make a mistake, it's best to take responsibility. Your staff and students will appreciate your honesty and character, which will last longer than the memory of a flub. These character traits alone can cultivate tomorrow's leaders, empowering them to hold themselves and others accountable, even when it's hard. Make a commitment to be transparent with the people in your school and uphold your word and promises.
6. Leading by Example
A school administrator role requires unparalleled passion, continuous dedication and a great deal of hard work. Passion is a critical component to finding happiness in any job and will make all the difference in your performance and interactions with the people in your school. Passionate leaders set the example for excellence and resilience, finding ways to encourage and inspire their teams for exponential growth.
Show pride in your school to spark school spirit. Lead with respect to earn it from your peers and students. Invest in your students to motivate them to do better and believe in themselves. Provide them with the tools to succeed and your school will transform into a fun and engaging place to learn.
Advice for School Administrators
Success doesn't happen by accident — you plan for it! Adopting this mindset for your standards, as well as that of your students and faculty, will stimulate growth and development that exceed the highest expectations. The following tips for school administrators can take you from an operations facilitator position to a genuine, active leader:
1. Listen to Input From Your Staff
It's easy to get caught up in the stress of everyday life. While laser-sharp focus may be one of your strong points, it can inhibit opportunities to connect with staff and learn from their experiences. After all, your teachers might know the students better than you do because they interact with them for substantial periods of time throughout the week.
First-year teachers will have been exposed to the most recent data regarding childhood development and psychology. Veteran staff at the school will have years of real-world experience that can help you make tough decisions when unpredictable circumstances arise. All these factors and more can prove to be valuable in ensuring your students' success today and in the future.
2. Connect With Students in the Classroom
The best way to understand what your students and staff go through is by sitting in the classroom with them. You'll have firsthand perspective from the students and teachers, which can inform future decisions and create empathy when connecting with students. It's easy to forget what it was like when you were a child. Their feelings and opinions are real and valid. The classroom is the perfect environment to level with them, build compassion and establish trust.
3. Make an Effort to Engage Both in Person and Virtually
If the last few years have proved anything, it's that technology is necessary for everyday life and vital for a student's growth and success in school. Whether students are attending school in person or virtually, as a school administrator you should make the extra effort to engage with the curriculum and activities. Times are changing rapidly, and students, teachers and parents are doing their best to keep up.
Your support will make a world of difference to individuals who are struggling. Lending an extra hand, being a soundboard for advice and reasoning, and fully understanding the changes that are occurring will make you a better leader. This effort can also give your teachers better support systems for the students. Learn the best methods for virtual interactions for greater success.
4. Give Your Students the Materials They Need to Succeed
The best school administrator advice is ensuring your students are given the best materials to aid their journey through school. Planning and organizational skills are crucial for students as they transition into adolescence and adulthood. Time management, goal setting, independence and personal responsibility are character traits that can be taught at any school age.
Resources like planners are proven to:
- Increase productivity.
- Prevent procrastination.
- Improve focus.
- Create consistency.
- Prioritize task management.
- Reduce stress.
- Reinforce responsibility.
- Provide structure and motivation.
While any planner is better than nothing, when it comes to paper versus digital planners, the research is clear. The best planners are those that are made from paper.
Studies have shown time and again that too much screen time can cause developmental delays and damage to a student's brain. Increased screen time impacts cognitive function, cortical thickness and dopamine function. While typing can be a timesaver, writing by hand helps students learn letters and shapes, improve composition and creative expression, as well as improve fine motor skill development.
Our Planners Can Help
Success by Design student planners can help get your students excited for school and encourage them to take their first steps in organization and goal management. Made from quality materials, our elementary school, middle school and high school semester and year-long planners are constructed to reinforce and enrich curricula.
Planners are more than homework trackers. They create a platform for communication between teachers and parents, inspire students with motivational quotes and help your students build routines and healthy habits. Show your school spirit with customizable designs to include your school's colors and mascot. You can even include your student handbook or a hall pass log at a low additional cost.
Call our friendly customer service team at 844-263-0872 to find the right planner for your students. All our products come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you aren't satisfied, we'll replace or refund your purchase. Take the next step in leading your students to success by contacting our team today!
- Tags: Administrator Resources
- SBD, Inc.