3 Ways to Start Building Relationships As A New Assistant Principal

I am about to take on my first assistant principal role in July. I am beyond excited and equally terrified (A little imposter syndrome might be kicking in!). However, as I enjoy this necessary rest and time off over the summer, I am thinking of ways I can start building relationships with my new staff members.

Some background info – I am coming into this role as an external hire. If you have ever been hired externally for any job, then you know this is a hard transition. You haven’t been integrated into the community or the culture quite yet, and it can feel uneasy. I have been the outside hire numerous times, and I know building relationships and learning “the lay of the land” is crucial to success. 

So, as a new assistant principal, how can you start building relationships with your staff when you have never met them? Here are three things I am trying out this summer to start introducing myself and getting involved with the school community.

1. Follow Social Media Accounts

This is great for a couple of reasons. One, you get to know what is going on in your school community and on your campus. Two, it will give you talking points for when you initially meet your staff.

For example, I followed all the clubs and sports accounts that I could find for my new high school. I saw that the wrestling team used one of their weekends to revitalize their wrestling room with their families and athletes. That was so cool, and I was able to bring that up in conversation when I met with my admin team.

For someone coming from the outside, I believe it shows that you are paying attention and that you are already invested in the school.

2. Meet With Your New Admin Team

If your admin team hasn’t already asked you to lunch or for a coffee, go ahead and ask them!

That is going to take some initiative and vulnerability, but it is so worth it. I was able to grab lunch with my new team while they were still on contract in June. It was great to hear about the school, the kids, what they were working on, and their ideas for next year. Granted, I couldn’t contribute much because I didn’t fully know the current status of the campus, but it definitely helped me to start thinking about ways I might want to contribute when we get started in July. 

This also helped me get to know my team a little better. Having strong relationships with your core admin team is going to be crucial. While being the new person can be scary and overwhelming, it is worth the risk to get face time with your new team, so go for it!

3. Stop By Your Campus

For high school administrators, you know the “city never sleeps”. There is something ALWAYS going on at campus.

Recently, I went up to my campus to get everything put away in my office. By being on campus, I was able to meet several new people who happened to be up there doing a host of different things. I met two of the most important people on campus: the custodian and the SRO. We were able to chat for a little bit, and they were able to tell me about their experiences at the school. It was an easy way to start building relationships that I definitely recommend.

I will be going there ever so often to do some grad work in my office, and I will definitely be roaming the halls to see who else I can find.

As I go through my first year as an AP, I am hoping to uncover some really good nuggets that help future aspiring administrators on their journey. I will be checking back in periodically to let our readers know what I have learned. Stay tuned!

Looking for more free resources for assistant principals? This is a great place to start.

Are you preparing for an assistant principal interview? Then take a look at 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.

If you are looking for more tips, strategies, resources, and insights to help you take the next step in your leadership journey, you can subscribe to the New School Leader Newsletter right here:

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