When the Power Goes Out
Electricity. It powers many of the conveniences in our lives. When it works, we take it for granted. It is an accessible, safe, reliable, and indispensable part of life. But when the electricity goes off, we are often left "powerless." It strikes me that principals are a lot like electricity
When Principals Feel Helpless
Deborah had noticed her husband's irritability. He was tense, quiet, and distant. Finally, he admitted growing frustration due to ineffective communication with his superintendent. Sensing he would never be able to fall asleep, she offered a suggestion -- and a valuable lesson for all principals.
Stop, Look, and Listen
Slow down and take time to really stop, look, and listen to the sounds you hear in your school hallways. You will be surprised at what captures your attention. You will learn far more about your school from the things you hear in those moments than from almost anything else you do.
When Your Predecessor Won't Leave
Principal succession is a significant event in the life of a school. It creates high levels of anxiety. But very little information exists to help support the successor when the predecessor casts a long shadow, hangs around -- and won't leave.
Truth Decay in the Principalship
A dentist's lecture about tooth decay has Paul Young thinking about another kind of decay -- truth decay -- that can cause all kinds of problems for principals. Avoiding truth decay, while not always the easy path, can pay great dividends for principals.
Networking 101 for Principals
Anyone looking to climb the professional ladder needs to learn how to network. For school leaders, networking provides a sounding board for leading change and a safety net for providing support. Included: Ten keys to building a network of principals.
I can walk into a room full of active kindergarten students without turning a head. In contrast, the classroom tone changes dramatically when I appear on the doorstep of a first-grade classroom. It doesn't take long for children to be aware of the "power" of the principal.
Is Your Name on the List?
There are all kinds of lists. Top-ten lists. Shopping lists. Best-seller lists. Mailing lists. Spelling lists. Hit lists. There are right lists to be on, and lists on which you wouldn't want to see your name. So which lists are you on? As a principal, are you on the right lists?
I Just Can't Do It
I hear the phrase "I can't do it!" a lot. I hear it from students. I hear it from teachers. I hear it from parents. But if my experience as a school principal has taught me one thing, it's that there is almost always a way to turn around I-can't-do its.
Do Schools Have Fun Activities Anymore?
When a radio station approached my church about using our parking lot for an event, we went along with the plan. But based on my experience trying to draw crowds to events at the school where I was principal, I was sure the station event would fail. Included: Lessons learned from a radio station.
The No-Hat Rule
Would you agree that manners, civility, and respect for decorum are values that are heading the way of the horse and buggy? Paul Young thinks so. He says a return to teaching manners in school must start at the top -- so take off those ballcaps!
The Five Levels of Principal Leadership
Joe had arrived when in early August, at age 29, he was selected as the principal of Union Elementary School. In a rush to make a great first impression, Joe made a momentous mistake. If only hed read John Maxwells Leadership 101
Have You Got Enough Love in You to Be a Mentor Principal?
Have you got what it takes to mentor the next generation of school leaders? If youre a principal who has benefited from the helping hand and heart of a skilled mentor, youve no doubt picked up skills that will support you as you grow great teachers and future principals.
Who Is Responsible for Unruly Kids?
Community members had finally had it with unruly students at a neighborhood bus stop. So they turned to the school for help. After being confronted, the principal knew he had to take action. But how would he handle this potentially dangerous situation?
The Omnipresent Principal
To students in a school, the principal often seems to be everywhere. While we know that is physically impossible, there are things that any principal can do to make it seem that way. A principals omnipresence sets a tone for a school and gives it a personality.
Give Yourself the Best Gift: The Gift of Time
Time. Busy principals always seem to need more of it. So why do they give so much of it away so freely? By gaining control of the time they do have, principals can save precious minutes every day and create more hours in a week for more important things.
Preventing Gridlock: The Principal Traffic Cops Job
The job of a principal is not all that different from the job of a traffic cop. When gridlock forms in our schools, it is the principal -- the schools traffic controller -- who must make the quick decisions that drive achievement and remove barriers to improvement.
Becoming a Principal Is Like Learning to Swim All Over Again
The lessons Paul Young learned while learning to swim stick with him today. Learning to swim and learning to be a principal arent all that different, he says. Both require encouragement from trusted teachers. So are you ready to dive into the principalship?
Landing Your First Principalship
When it comes to being interviewed for that first principalship, all principals-to-be can benefit from the experience of a mentor. Mentors help their mentees focus on what must be said rather on what not to say. Included: Tips for aspiring principals.
The Principal as Troublemaker
Paul Young is past president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). And he is a troublemaker. But, as he describes in this essay, being a troublemaker is a necessary thing for strong school leaders to be.
What Would Dad Say About Education Today?
Father's Day is just around the corner. With that in mind, principal Paul Young considers what his dad might think about the state of education today. Down-home stories and common sense prevail in this principal's touching tribute to his dad.
The Bus Story
Driving buses and running schools used to be fun. They still can be. They must be. The jobs are too critical to the welfare for our nation's children. The jobs have a lot of other similarities too, according to Paul Young.
Its Time for Show Business to Replace Show and Tell
Like the well-worn elementary school activity, many education practices simply "show and tell" the public what we think they should know. Instead, the "business" of education could be dramatically improved by integrating a "show business" approach into what we do.