Why Be a Principal?

If you’ve ever wondered if becoming a principal is in your career trajectory, now is the time to act.

There is a dramatic shortage of school principals in both Vermont and New Hampshire. Principal and assistant principal positions appear on the Vermont and New Hampshire departments of education “critical shortage lists.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of elementary, middle, and high school principals is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026. It seems the shortage will increase.

If you’ve perused SchoolSpring lately, you may have noticed there is no dearth of principal openings in Vermont and New Hampshire. Over 20 principal, assistant principal, curriculum director, or dean positions have been posted since April 1st as of this publication date. That’s a lot.

But employment prospects aren’t a good enough reason to make the leap from teacher leadership to the principal’s office. Lots of schools have posted the same administrative job openings multiple times in the last few years. The resulting turmoil and turnover has a negative effect on schools, communities, and kids. Teachers stepping up to school leadership meets a vital need.

Finally, of any individual working in schools, the principal has the single biggest impact on school effectiveness and student learning. You read that correctly: the single biggest impact. While teachers have the biggest impact overall, their effect is spread across all teachers, while principal effects are concentrated in one person. It turns out that this influence is mostly related to how they support and develop teachers, distribute leadership, and foster a positive school climate.

So, if you are a teacher leader looking for a new challenge, an opportunity to develop new skills, and you have a desire to expand your impact on colleagues and students, now may be the moment where the need and your next steps meet.