Making the move into your first assistant principal job can be difficult. If you have been trying for a while, do not be discouraged. Here are 5 things aspiring assistant principals can do to set themselves up for success in the next hiring season.
Make your intentions known
If your building principal does not know that you want to move into an administrative role, you are in trouble. You have to share your goals with them. If they know you want to move up, they will help you. If they don’t know, you will be trying to climb that mountain by yourself, and that’s not an easy task.
Ask for a meeting with your principal, and when you sit down with them, say, “Thanks for taking a few minutes to meet with me. I was really hoping to get your advice.” Then let them know your goals, and use it as a learning opportunity. People love giving advice, and approaching the meeting as an opportunity to learn from your principal gives them an opportunity to help. When you ask for advice, they will want to help, and they will probably start telling you about opportunities to lead on your campus. That is exactly what you want.
Find ways to help your leadership team
Your administrative team needs your help, and hopefully, your conversation with your principal has already resulted in some new opportunities to help. You should also talk to your assistant principal(s). They are likely to be overwhelmed, and they will be more than happy to let you get some valuable experience by taking on certain tasks around the building. It could be monitoring attendance, tracking at-risk students, or helping with AOD responsibilities at extracurricular events. Whatever the responsibilities are that they decide to share with you, make sure you take advantage of the opportunity. If you turn them down too many times, they will stop asking. Also, if you are turning down opportunities, are you sure you actually want to move into that assistant principal role in the first place?
Keep seeking out RELEVANT professional development
Leaders are learners. What are you reading? What are you listening to? Who are you talking to? These three things can have an incredible impact on our growth as a leader. It is also important to make sure that the content you are consuming is the RIGHT CONTENT. There is a lot of information out there, so make sure that you are reading and listening to things that are actually going to help you develop the skills you need to take the next step in your leadership journey. If you want the best strategies and resources for new and aspiring school leaders sent to your inbox, subscribe to our free newsletter.
Solve a problem
Look for ways to add value on your campus. What problems can you help solve? This is important on a number of levels. First, it will obviously help improve your campus, which should positively impact students. Second, it will likely get you noticed. Third, it will give you specific examples that you can speak to when you get to the assistant principal interview. Being able to speak specifically about ways that you have solved problems and positively impacted students will quickly set you apart from other aspiring assistant principals.
Find a community of other aspiring assistant principals
Having a group of people you can bounce ideas off of and share your concerns or frustrations with will accelerate your growth as a leader. Talk to other aspiring assistant principals. What things are they working on? Are you working on anything that can help them? This is actually why we created The New School Leader. We want to build a community of new and aspiring school leaders that support one another, and we want to help people take the next step in their leadership journey.
We hope you found these tips useful. If you did, make sure to check back in for more useful information. You can also make sure you never miss an update by signing up for our free newsletter below.
We’ll see you next time!
Are you preparing for an assistant principal interview? We are excited to share the release of our first online course: The Assistant Principal Interview Bootcamp. This comprehensive course is designed to help you develop the skills and confidence you need to dominate your assistant principal interview and obtain your first assistant principal position.