Principals manage the operations of their school, usually in elementary schools, middle schools, or high schools. School principals might work in a public, private, or charter school. They are responsible for ensuring their school runs smoothly, remains safe, and provides an excellent learning environment for its students. They may set standards of performance and establish goals and objectives for studies, teacher, and staff. Principals also interact with stakeholders outside of school at community events and various social organizations.
Principals are responsible for leading elementary, middle and high schools. They are involved in a wide variety of activities, from being the instructional leader to developing and upholding the school’s mission statement and school board policy.
Uphold educational policies and integrate the common core government guidelines into each class curriculum.
Create benchmarks for students and teachers and track progress towards those goals.
Develop programs that improve teacher performance and assist students in understanding class material better.
Provide guidance to the school’s network of student leaders and challenge those leaders to make the school a better place.
Respond immediately to concerns from parents and school board administrators.
Managing the school’s finances and budget.
Making sure facilities are safe and secure.
Meeting with teachers and parents as part of measuring progress and gauging behavior.
Supporting teachers in their disciplinary decisions.
Supervising and monitoring all categories of school staff, including teachers, counselors and media specialists
Most school principals begin a career in education by teaching. Bachelor’s degrees are generally the minimum educational requirement for teachers. States require public school teachers to be licensed, which involves completing a bachelor’s degree and passing a licensing exam.
Teaching is an ideal training ground for principals. Before advancing into administration positions, most principals begin their careers in education as teachers, learning skills such as communication, leadership, and motivation. Teachers also learn to develop curricula according to students’ needs, as well as valuable evaluation skills.
Working with a variety of students, parents, and colleagues will expose you to opportunities to further develop leadership and communication skills. You’ll also gain valuable knowledge that will serve you well as the principal. Try to move quickly through the ranks when possible, while seeking opportunities to advance your skills.
Get involved in your school and your community. Volunteering for activities, committees or planning groups can help you shine. When others see your ability to effectively motivate others, successfully complete a group activity or confidently spearhead a planning committee, they will more likely make a positive recommendation when you’re pursuing a principal position.
Once you know the requirements for becoming a principal in various districts, you can set about meeting them. For example, you may need to become a licensed school administrator prior to applying for a principal position. Perhaps you’ll need a Master of Science degree in Educational Administration to take the exam. If that’s the case, start researching your options for master’s degree programs while you’re teaching and developing those essential leadership skills.
In most cases, a master’s degree in educational leadership or educational administration is required for employment as a principal. The graduate degree programs are designed to provide the necessary training for prospective principals to lead faculty and staff, work with budgets, communicate effectively with parents and the community, and set and accomplish goals for the school.
An associate’s degree in education provides the skills and knowledge needed to enter the education field and is a good first step towards a career in teaching. Those who earn an associate degree in education from an accredited school may qualify for paraeducator positions such as teaching assistant, teacher’s aide, or in some states, preschool teacher or substitute teacher.
Early Childhood Education Today
Foundations for Teaching and Learning
Implementing Early Childhood Programs
Establish an educational philosophy
Demonstrate an awareness of cultural diversity
Discuss techniques to guide children
Biological Factors in Child Psychology
Schools of Child Psychology
Vygotsky’s Theory In-Depth
The concept of Childhood
Early history and childhood
The class difference in perceptions of childhood
Backward Design of Lessons
Curriculum and Teaching
Lesson Plan Creation
Demonstrate knowledge of the relationship between educational theory and practice
Examine current curriculum theories
Examine curriculum mapping
A Bachelor's degree does not need to be in education, as long as the candidate is certified as a teacher in a state. However, a Bachelor's degree in education can be helpful in working your way up to this career.
The Purpose of Schooling
The Official Construction of Schools
The social construction of race and racism
Explain historical moments of schooling
Current content and pedagogical practices
Plan the organization of a classroom
Manage student progress data electronically
Establish classroom procedures and expectation
Media Knowledge and Skills
History and Purposes of Technology in Schools
Future Trends and Ethical Concerns
How to select and evaluate technology in the classroom
How to prepare technology-enhanced lessons in the classroom
How to keep up-to-date on new and emerging technologies
You'll likely need teaching experience before you are eligible for a Master's degree program in this field. Many aspiring principals aim to complete a Master's degree in education or a more specific field of educational leadership. Most states and schools do require principals to have a related Master's degree. However, some schools hire principals with any Master's degree as long as they are certified teachers and certified school administrators.
Foundations of Classroom Management
Behavioral and Assertive Approaches
Positive and Cooperative Approaches
Identify and evaluate different classroom-management approaches
Discuss routine and disruptive events in the classroom
Implement effective classroom and behavior management techniques
Analysis of current Personal Educational Philosophy
Expert Teachers & Learners
Cognitive, Learning & Language Skills
Extend the knowledge of educational psychology principles
Phonological and Phonemic Awareness
Explain the developmental processes associated with communication systems
Procedures to plan and implement instruction
Explain the alphabetic principle
A doctorate in education (EdD or Ph.D.) equips a graduate with skills and scholarly knowledge relating to the practice of education. There are several different types of doctoral programs in education, and at various schools, the lines between these programs may be blurred. EdD programs are typically project- and practice-based, while Ph.D. programs are typically more research-based. A doctorate in education can also focus on a specific area of education such as a special education doctorate degree or an educational leadership doctorate degree.
Behaviorist Learning Theory
Cognitive Learning Theory
Create, revise, and use your own personal theory of learning
Reflect on how learning theories impact on every aspect of your life
Explain the interactions of students, teachers, and materials in classrooms
Eastern Philosophy and Education
The relationship between theory, philosophy and educational practice
Describe the historical context of the various philosophies
Discuss the strengths and limitations of the various philosophies
Introduction to the American legal system
Role of the federal government in education
Governance of public schools
Outline and explain the organizational structure of public schools
Explain the general structure of the federal and state court systems
Issues in educational law to develop and administer a safe school environment