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Les Potter is currently the director of the American International School West in Cairo, Egypt. Les has over 40 years in educational leadership in the US and Egypt and most recently has been a...
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Delegation and Visibility

Visibility is very important in gaining trust and acceptance---key components of a school’s climate. Creating time to be visible in a busy and crowded schedule is not an easy task. Delegation of duties to other staff members is one solution to this problem. It is important to establish a routine that is agreeable to everyone. The following practices will help principals arrange their time to allow more visibility in their school. Many principals try to micromanage, especially new principals. Delegate, delegate and delegate!

  • Assign daily activities to assistants: morning announcements, securing subs, discipline, checking teacher attendance, checking report cards, etc. Try to meet with assistant(s) during the summer before school starts to organize duties for the upcoming school year. Try and get a consensus with your folks so they understand why you are doing this. Assistants are often more willing to assume extra responsibilities during the day if they do not have evening duties. This is where the principal should be---meeting and greeting parents and community members. This also helps keep assistants from “burning out” and allows the principal to get out of the office more often. It is a tradeoff---I did not mind the evening programs as I thought this was a great PR opportunity. With the assistants doing more of the daily mundane activities, I was freed up to do things I felt principals should be doing.
  • Coordinate with the secretary: once the secretary is aware of strategy, meetings can be scheduled with parents and students in the office or at events later that evening. The secretary should have a walkie-talkie or cell phone, so she/he can remain in contact with you. Phones and walkie-talkies are worth their weight in gold as they improve communication and reduce the amount of time people spend looking for each other throughout the school day. I did instruct the secretary and APs when I was doing classroom observations so I the “chatter” would not disturb the class. Also, if you have a large campus and the money for it, I would certainly recommend getting a golf cart or two (for security folks and administrators). You can get to “hot spots” a lot quicker. Also, you can meet parents, students and teachers outside as opposed in everyone meeting in an office that can waste time. I also had a meeting with my assistants once a week to reflect on what we were doing. We had a written and distributed agenda that assistants could view before the meeting an add to the agenda. This certainly helped with the understanding of what we were trying to do at the school and make sure everything was working as best as it could.

Be visible and delegate!


Les Potter, Ed. D.

American International School West
Cairo, Egypt