Most of the administrators that I know taught 5-10 years in the classroom and moved on to serve as school principals. I avoided administration like the plague! To me, being a school principal consisted of management, mandates, evaluation, policy, problem-solving, politics and power. I wanted nothing to do it. I loved being in the classroom! To be entirely honest, I think there was also a little bit of fear.
Anyone who knows me knows the inner battle that I’ve fought while being in school to earn my administrative license. So why now? What changed?
I’ve had to learn a lot about myself. After a lot of self-reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve always been a school leader. I just never gave myself credit or viewed the things that I did as “leadership.” I’ve always been a do-er. If I’ve seen a need in the school, I’ve volunteered my time to teach, plan, initiate, or do whatever it takes to provide more opportunities for students to learn. I’ve been on every school committee and many district committees. I’ve presented at conferences, been a mentor teacher, and served in many capacities. But, I never really thought of those things as being a “school leader.” To me, it was just part of being a teacher.
About seven years ago (the same time I became a connected educator), I heard the term “lead learner” which resonated to the core of who I am. It was then that I began the journey and the transformation of thinking of myself as a school leader. The paradigm shift made all of the difference! There’s a big difference between thinking, “I’m just a teacher.” to “I’m a change agent and leader in my school.” I’ve made it part of my mission to help other teachers make the same shift.
The job description of a school principal has changed over the span of my career. It’s no longer the stereotypical manager locked in an office all day. Being a principal is about being with and serving people. It’s about being a good manager, but it’s also about being an instructional leader. It’s about leading the changes that will benefit kids. Becoming a connected educator allowed me to see how principals were in a position to make a bigger impact. I saw the results of actions all over the country and the world. Making a difference as a school leader started to become more than a catchphrase that people often gave as their reason for becoming an administrator. A little part of me wanted to be part of the movement. It started as a flicker and has grown into a flame! The small voice inside telling me that being an administrator is my next step in the journey is loud and clear.
I have this semester of schooling to finish before I have a license as an administrator in Utah. I don’t know if I will have the opportunity of being a vice principal or principal for the upcoming school year. I do know that I’m confident that I can be a change agent and a leader that will make a difference. I have a lot to learn about the “in's and out's” about being a building principal! I know that I will make many mistakes! But I also know that I’m surrounded by the best of the best in educational leadership, my board of directors if you will, who support me and will help me to be successful.