To be persuasive, we must be believable; to be believable, we must be credible; to be credible, we must be truthful.” — Edward R. Murrow
As a classroom teacher and coach, I took pride in building relationships because I witnessed how important these relationships were to our classroom or team’s success. Anytime we can take a group of people to work towards a common vision, great things can occur and will occur.
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision; the ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” Andrew Carnegie. On day one, I shared with my staff that our vision for this year would be “Choose Excellence Every Day’! This vision will take hard work and commitment.
As a principal, it will be imperative to build and strengthen relationships with individuals who are involved at some level with our school. Trust will be an integral part in building these relationships. Without trust, there is no relationship. In my new role, as principal, I must walk the talk to inspire trust. I must be visible in the classrooms and hallways, the cafeteria and the playground, at the bus stop and student events, meetings with community groups and parent meetings because accomplished principals build and manage a complex network of relationships. Being a principal is not about shutting my door and dedicating long stretches of time to my daily to do list, or answering emails all day long. Being a principal is visiting classrooms every day, eating lunch with students, supervising recess, leading professional development, communicating with parents and community members, collaborating with district colleagues, analyzing student data, and anything else that is vital to our students’ success. I do believe that a principal has to be an effective manager, but even more importantly a principal must be an instructional leader who promotes curriculum, ensures student learning, and supports professional growth. At our school instructional leadership will be a priority.
Trust is also developed by showing the staff I trust in them by providing opportunities for them to lead. My coaching experiences helped me realize how important itis to make full use of the individuals skills and talents of its members. A collective effort will help our staff accomplish extraordinary things that no one person can accomplish by himself or herself. Our after school dismissal proves this to be true. I decided to have all members of our staff have a role in after school dismissal. Each grade level supervises a different area of the school, and our P.E. teacher and music teacher took the challenging role of bus duty. I am so thankful they did because they understood the system better than I did! Some of the situations that occurred would not have been handled as effectively without each member having a role. I also have recognized strong leadership skills in several of my staff members that might have gone unnoticed without this opportunity. Because of their collective efforts, we are showing the students and community that the safety of our students is a top priority.
I believe modeling effective communication is critical in building trust. Being a new principal, I have recognized the importance of listening. By listening, I have learned the needs of our staff and how I can best support them. Through my classroom walkthroughs I am asking reflective questions to promote professional growth and to build an open dialogue between me and the teacher. The parents and community deserve to know what is occurring in our building, so I am using Twitter, Facebook, and newsletters to help highlight our events and showcase student talents. To express value in dissenting views, I have created and Edmodo blog with different questions that give staff an opportunity to express their opinions in a professional way. Our conversations allow teachers to feel more secure in providing honest input and participate meaningfully in school decision-making.
I became a principal because I wanted to positively influence an entire learning community. Building and strengthening relationships will help improve teaching, learning, and student achievement, and because of this, I will do whatever it takes to build trusting relationships.