The following is a note that LYS Coach, Lesa Cain, sent to the Principals that she works with:

LYS Principals,

I am thinking about you as you get back to work and nail down plans for the upcoming adventure!  As you prepare to kick things off in a new school this year I just wanted you to consider a couple of things.  

The first time you talk with your new staff is the only first time you have. After that, they’ve heard you before.  What will you say to impact them like no other Principal ever has?  How will you make them proud to teach with you as the leader? How will you decide what your message for the year will be?

Teachers on your staff want to know what you expect from them. But more importantly, they want to know what they can expect from you.  Be sure to tell them HOW you plan on leading the campus.  Will you be visible?  Are you a positive person that sees the glass half full? Will you greet them each day?  Will you get to school an hour early, or will you be like me and stay until all hours of the night?  Will you talk to them in the classroom or will you ask them to come to the office?  Will you begin meetings on time or will you wait for late people to arrive before you start? Can they text you, or would you prefer a call?  Do you remember staff birthdays, or do you need to let them know that you have a hard time remembering what day it is?  Your staff needs to hear you say these things and anything else you can think of so that they know what they can expect from you and then you will get what you expect from them. 🙂

It may sounds like I’m talking about “administrivia,” but the point I want to make is that just like a phenomenal teacher models what she wants, you must model what you want.  If you want teachers to plan together, then you must attend the planning meetings.  If you want teachers to know the students in their classes, then you have to know the students in your school.  If you want teachers to call parents, then you must call parents.  If you want teachers to be kind, respectful and positive… then YOU must be kind, respectful and positive.

Above all, tell the truth about who you are and how you will make decisions.  This may sounds simple but when you begin to think about it things get muddy very quickly.  That’s why we have the summer to figure all this out, hire new staff, make a plan for central office, and make sense out all the new initiatives they throw at us. Whew, I’m tired just typing this! 

In an effort to support you, I’m attaching a couple of the summer letters I emailed to my staffs over the years, and some beginning of the year speeches that goes with them (NOTE: Send LYS an email if you would like to review a couple of these). You will notice a pattern and I never changed it much except for the unifying theme. I always tried to have some sort of central theme and then we used that theme for a staff t-shirt, team building, teacher appreciation events, and any other way we could think of to tie everything we were trying to do together so that everyone was on the same page.

If this is of no help at all, or if you are way ahead of the game, or if you just think “who the heck is this lady?” then feel free to ignore this. You will not hurt my feelings.  I do not think that this is the Only Way, it just worked for us.  Let me know what you think and if you need anything else.

L. Cain

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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