In response to the post, “Advice for the First Year Principal,” a reader writes:
“Since the Texas Charter School Conference I have read all your postings but, Advice for the First Year Principal, is what I’ve been waiting for. Even though I am assistant principal, my principal is three hours away at the main campus making me the de-facto principal and last year the teachers ended the year with zero morale, so this really helps.
Will there be a part two?”
Part two is the on-going LYS conversation. If there is something particular that you are considering, or need help with, just send in a comment.
Even though you are the assistant principal, in your case use the one of the primary leadership rules of the Navy. In the Navy, when on shore, officer rank really matters. The admiral outranks the captain who outranks the commander who outranks the lieutenant commander… But when the ships are at sea, the highest ranking officer on board is the Captain of the Ship.
When you are three hours away from the boss, you are the leader. Embrace the role. That alone should have a positive impact on morale. Weak and/or non-existent leadership is a morale killer. We all want to know that there is a vision and purpose for the organization; that those above us are working as hard we are to further that vision and purpose; and that someone will make the decisions and mobilize the resources that will put us in a position to be successful. When we know that is not the case, we flounder and the organization suffers.
When I worked for Brezina, there were times when I was the highest ranking leader in the district (admittedly, this did not happen very often). When this did occur, I made sure that I was extra visible during the day. I stayed late to make sure that if anything happened I would be there. Even though my “watch” was always unofficial, I made sure that I had my finger on the pulse of the organization. Then when Brezina returned, I would tell him that everything ran smoothly while everyone was away. Which I always found humorous, because he had no idea why I would report this.
The point being is that you have a great opportunity to make a difference, greater than what is typically expected from your nominal position. Work every day to make the most of the opportunity. Finally, if you get in a bind, just drop a line or call.
Think. Work. Achieve.