Have you ever wondered what exactly a school principal does all day? I mean, we all know they’re in charge of the school, but what does that really mean?
As a teacher myself I’ve wondered what my principal does during the day besides being in meetings all day.
It turns out, the duties of a school principal are far-reaching and essential to the functioning of a successful school.
Principals are responsible for observing and evaluating teachers, managing the school budget, meeting with parents, and providing vision and leadership for the entire school.
In this article, we’ll break down the major responsibilities and duties of school principals, as well as explore some of the additional tasks that often fall under their purview.
So whether you’re a seasoned educator or just starting out, read on to learn more about what it takes to be a school principal! You can also read this article to get a bigger picture of a school principal.
Table of Contents
Requirements to be a School Principal
Becoming a school principal is a rigorous and demanding process that requires a combination of education, professional experience, and certification or licensing.
If you’re considering a career as a school principal, it’s important to understand the main requirements that are typically involved.
Educational Requirements for Principals
The first requirement to become a school principal is education.
Most school districts require candidates for principal positions to have at least a master’s degree in education, educational leadership, or a related field. Some may also require a doctorate degree.
These programs typically include coursework in leadership, curriculum development, and school management.
Getting more education and experience will help you climb the education career ladder to become a school principal, and increase your income.
Professional Experience Requirements
The second requirement to become a school principal is professional experience, which is typically gained through several years of working as a teacher or administrator.
This experience is critical for developing the skills and knowledge required to lead a school effectively.
As an administrator, you may gain experience in:
- curriculum design and development
- school budgeting and finance
- teacher supervision and evaluation
- strategic planning, leadership, and decision-making
All of this experience can be invaluable when it comes to becoming a school principal. Principals who have worked as teachers or administrators have a deep understanding of the challenges that educators face in the classroom and can use this knowledge to guide their decisions and support their staff.
For example, if a teacher is struggling with classroom management, a principal with teaching experience may be able to offer specific strategies or resources to help. Similarly, if the school is facing budget constraints, a principal with administrative experience may be able to identify opportunities to reduce costs or reallocate resources to better support student learning.
Certification and Licensing Requirements
All states have different requirements for principal certification and licensing. Candidates typically need to pass an exam and complete a certain number of hours of professional development each year. In some states, principals must also have a valid teaching license.
By meeting these three main requirements, candidates can begin to pursue a career as a school principal.
However, becoming a successful principal also requires a range of soft skills, including effective communication, strong leadership, and strategic problem-solving abilities.
With the right combination of education, experience, and personal qualities, you can take the first step towards a fulfilling and rewarding career as a school principal.
The 5 Major Duties of a School Principal
As a principal, I have a lot of responsibilities to ensure that my school runs smoothly and effectively. Here are five of the major duties that fall under my purview. Of course there are more duties of a principal, but these are the big ones to understand.
I’ll cover a few additional school principal duties below.
Observing and Evaluating Teachers
One of the most important things I do as a principal is to observe and evaluate teachers.
Teachers sometimes feel overwhelmed and nervous about classroom observations, but it’s part of the process of helping teachers get better.
By visiting classrooms, I can see firsthand how teachers are engaging with students and delivering instruction. I also provide feedback and support to help teachers improve their teaching skills and enhance student outcomes.
My duty as a principal is to partner with teachers to support student learning, and this is one of my favorite duties as a principal to work with teachers in the evaluation process.
Developing and Implementing Curriculum Standards
As a principal, I work closely with teachers to develop and implement curriculum standards that meet state and national requirements.
I ensure that our curriculum aligns with our school’s goals and vision, and I monitor student progress to make sure that they are meeting learning goals.
Principal duties also include analyzing state and student testing scores for math and reading.
A huge emphasis for all schools is to help students become proficient in reading and writing and implementing strategies in all classes to support students and teachers in this process.
Managing the School Budget, Supplies, and Maintenance
Another major responsibility I have is managing the school’s budget, supplies, and maintenance. This means that I am in charge of ordering supplies and materials, scheduling maintenance and repairs, and making sure that we are using our budget effectively.
A big part of a school’s budget is for teacher salaries. It’s important to have enough teachers to teach all the sections of students in the school, while trying to maintain low class sizes for students and teachers to be as successful as possible.
At the end of each school year, a principal is responsible for evaluating how many teachers the school needs, the funding available to offer new teaching positions, and oversee the funding of all school programs and supplies.
Providing Vision and Leadership for Educators
As a principal, it is important for me to provide vision and leadership for educators. I set goals for our school and work with my team to develop strategies to achieve those goals.
A lot of this work involves creating mutual trust and respect amongst all staff members.
By inspiring and motivating our teachers to work towards a common vision, we create a positive and successful learning environment for our students.
Meeting with Parents and Teachers to Discuss Student Progress and Behavior
Finally, I regularly meet with parents and teachers to discuss student progress and behavior.
This involves communicating with parents about their child’s academic performance, behavior, and attendance, as well as working with teachers to develop strategies to address any issues that arise.
By maintaining open lines of communication, we can ensure that parents are involved and informed about their child’s education.
By managing these major duties effectively, I am able to create a safe, supportive, and successful learning environment for my students and teachers.
Additional Responsibilities of a School Principal
In addition to the major duties we’ve already discussed, school principals are also responsible for a variety of other tasks that are essential to running a successful school. Here are a few examples:
Ensuring School Safety and Security
School safety and security is a top priority for all principals. This includes developing and implementing safety protocols, conducting safety drills, and working with local law enforcement to address any safety concerns.
Promoting Positive School Culture and Community Involvement
As a principal, I strive to create a positive school culture that promotes respect, inclusivity, and academic excellence. I work with teachers and staff to develop programs and initiatives that support this culture, and I also seek to involve parents and community members in our school events and activities.
Hiring and Managing School Staff
As the leader of my school, I am responsible for hiring and managing school staff. This includes conducting interviews, overseeing employee evaluations, and addressing any personnel issues that may arise.
As I mentioned earlier, the school principal also needs to work within the budget to hire the best staff possible to add or maintain programs for students.
And when good teachers leave for other opportunities, you might be asked to write a letter of recommendation for a teacher.
Developing and Maintaining Partnerships with Community Organizations
Finally, I work to develop and maintain partnerships with community organizations that can provide resources and support for our school. This might include working with local businesses to provide internships or job shadowing opportunities for our students, or partnering with nonprofit organizations to offer after-school programs or tutoring services.
By fulfilling these additional responsibilities, school principals can help to create a welcoming, supportive, and successful learning environment for all students and staff.
The duties of a principal are wide ranging and when done well, support all teachers, staff, and students in a positive way. If you’re interested in becoming a principal, keep in mind these duties of an elementary principal and secondary principal with variations depending on the school district.
All school principals will need to:
- Meet the educational requirements to become a principal, such as a masters degree or specific principal license
- Support, observe, and evaluate teachers
- Manage the school budget effectively to meet needs of the school
- Promote positive school culture
- Hire and manage school staffing
- Work with students, families, and community members to maintain a safe learning environment
If you’re interested, I’ve written more articles about school principals including information about the principal hiring process and 222 principal interview questions to prepare for your next principal interview.
We hope this article has given you a better understanding of the important role that school principals play in education. Thank you for reading!