The list of answers to this question is likely very long. Books are written about the role. Many points of view will answer the question differently. Teachers, parents, students, community members all will have their opinion. Principals, themselves, are worthy of a good listening after being asked this question. I asked a couple principals recently during our end of year evaluation discussions and they shared the following thoughts.

Vulnerability –  principals need to know what they know and what they don’t know. They need to be Lifelong learners and need to learn community and organizational contexts while building on their own strengths and experiences.

Work Ethic –  principals need to have a can do, never say die attitude and know there is always a way but you might have to find the way.

Building or contributing to a school identity.

Building collaboration

Aligning staff for strength and success

Know your staff and team

Create a supportive environment for staff for organizational development.

Patience – with oneself and others. Including being a good listener and problem solver and being empathetic. In order to help solve problems you really have to understand them.

Serving families and knowing the community and culture of the school.

Know how to reach, speak, and engage the community for who they are.

Leading by example as a teacher and human being.

Being out and about with children and staff regularly.

Rio’s school leaders are diverse in experience and style. They are all dedicated educators who carved their educator teeth as teachers and who find the work of teaching and classroom culture as central to their work. 

Principals are the middle managers of the Local Educational Agency (LEA) usually known as a school District. Middle managers usually have the most difficult job in administration as they work in the in-between-realm of responsiveness to students, staff, and families as well as higher level hierarchies in the organization.

This 2019-20 school year was one for the ages and we thank all our school leaders for leading well and finishing the school year strong and with hope for the challenges that are to come.


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