A new LYS Principal asks the following:
At the end of the summer my district informed principals that their contracts would not be addressed until February. Historically, principal contracts are renewed (or extended) during the summer for two-year terms. Needless to say, this is more than a little nerve racking. Especially since I am about to buy a house in the district.
Honestly, I am no longer sure how committed the district is to me or any other principal here. The district has experienced some significant turnover, some of it voluntary, some of it not. I thought the district had removed the questionable and bad apples, but evidently it does not think so. It sure feels like I am walking on unstable ground!!! You have more experience in situations like this, what is your analysis?
SC Response In regards to your two-year contract, with annual extensions, I was never lucky enough to have that made available to me. In the districts I worked in, I always had a one-year contract. And that safety net was removed when I went to work for Dr. Neeley. At that point, not only was I an at-will employee, it was understood that the position would go away, most likely with no warning. So I don’t know what to read into your situation. But I can tell you that a one-year contract is not unusual.
As for purchasing a house, if you plan on being upwardly mobile (bigger campus and/or higher position) and if the housing market in your area is weak, DO NOT BUY!
If you plan to stay in the district for at least five years and/or you can sell or lease a house in your area in a timely fashion, they purchasing a house is a little less risky.
Here is what you must understand with perfect clarity. The principalship now resembles the Superintendent and Head Coach position more than ever before. As a principal, your job is only as safe as your most recent results. If under your leadership your campus does not move forward at an acceptable pace, assume that the clock is ticking. That is the current reality of the job, no matter which district you work for. The principals that embrace this enjoy a clarity of action-oriented vision. The one’s that do not operate in a state of perpetual discomfort and/or fear. Welcome to the arena of leadership.
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