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High School Principal

Functioning as a competent administrator of an educational institution, a high school principal provides instructional leadership, as well as manages the day-to-day activities in secondary schools. They can also very easily direct the educational programs of businesses, correctional institutions, museums, and job training and community service organizations. They set educational standards and goals and establish the policies and procedures to carry them out.

They also supervise managers, support staff, teachers, counselors, librarians, coaches, and others. They develop academic programs; monitor students' educational progress; train and motivate teachers and other staff; manage guidance and other student services; administer record keeping; prepare budgets; handle relations with parents, prospective and current students, employers, and the community; and perform many other duties. They set the academic tone and hire, evaluate, and help improve the skills of teachers and other staff.

Principals confer with staff to advise, explain, or answer procedural questions. They visit classrooms, observe teaching methods, review instructional objectives, and examine learning materials. They actively work with teachers to develop and maintain high curriculum standards, develop mission statements, and set performance goals and objectives. Principals must use clear, objective guidelines for teacher appraisals, because pay often is based on performance ratings.

Principals also meet and interact with other administrators, students, parents, and representatives of community organizations. Decision-making authority has increasingly shifted from school district central offices to individual schools. Thus, parents, teachers, and other members of the community play an important role in setting school policies and goals. Principals must pay attention to the concerns of these groups when making administrative decisions.

Principals prepare budgets and reports on various subjects, including finances and attendance, and oversee the requisition and allocation of supplies. As school budgets become tighter, many principals have become more involved in public relations and fundraising to secure financial support for their schools from local businesses and the community.

Principals must take an active role to ensure that students meet national, State, and local academic standards. Many principals develop school/business partnerships and school-to-work transition programs for students. Increasingly, principals must be sensitive to the needs of the rising number of non-English speaking and culturally diverse students. Growing enrollments, which are leading to overcrowding at many existing schools, are causes for concern. When addressing problems of inadequate resources, administrators serve as advocates for the building of new schools or the repair of existing ones. During summer months, principals are responsible for planning for the upcoming year, overseeing summer school, participating in workshops for teachers and administrators, supervising building repairs and improvements, and working to be sure the school has adequate staff for the school year.

Principals and assistant principals should have favorable job prospects. A sharp increase in responsibilities in recent years has made the job more stressful, and has discouraged teachers from taking positions in administration. Principals are now being held more accountable for the performance of students and teachers, while at the same time they are required to adhere to a growing number of government regulations. In addition, overcrowded classrooms, safety issues, budgetary concerns, and teacher shortages in some areas all are creating additional stress for administrators. The increase in pay is often not high enough to entice people into the field.

For additional sources of information contact your local departments and/or colleges of education

Education job-boards and government publications

Newspaper advertisements (education/professional),, ,,

Teacher and principal associations in your area/state - licensing bodies

Colleges and Universities - Department/Faculty of Education

Many jobs in this educational administration category, require a master's or doctoral degree and experience in a related occupation, such as a teacher or admissions counselor and/or specialist training, certification and/or professional standing and affiliation/designation, combined with years of actual teaching experience is preferred by most. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are essential because much of an administrator's job involves working and collaborating with others. Job outlook is expected to be excellent because a large proportion of education administrators are expected to retire over the next 10 years.

Schools continue to be involved with students' emotional welfare as well as their academic achievement. As a result, principals face responsibilities outside the academic realm. For example, in response to the growing numbers of dual-income and single-parent families and teenage parents, schools have established before- and after-school childcare programs or family resource centers, which also may offer parenting classes and social service referrals. With the help of community organizations, some principals have established programs to combat increases in crime, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases among students.

secondary school head, high school administrator, senior principal, executive administrator - education/high school


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