An op-ed titled Principal Support is Imperative to a Thriving Educational Ecosystem.

Matthew Kennard December 19, 2023

Principal Support is Imperative to a Thriving Educational Ecosystem

Matthew Kennard

BetterLesson Chief Executive Officer

Principals are the foundation of our schools, wielding considerable influence over the culture, effectiveness, and overall success of their institutions. Yet, too often, we find ourselves entrusting them with immense responsibilities without first providing them with the necessary training and a means of ongoing support. It’s time to acknowledge this disconnect, and recognize that the success of our schools is intrinsically linked to setting our principals up for success.

While administrators have always worn numerous hats requiring a diverse skill set–from navigating the daily administrative tasks to fostering a positive school culture–the challenges facing principals today are unprecedented. In a post-pandemic educational system, school leaders face additional pressures; expectations to overcome learning loss, extreme teacher shortages, and new educational legislation, just to name a few. However, expecting them to excel in isolation is not only unrealistic but sets the stage for burnout and diminished performance.

To address this issue, we must prioritize comprehensive support structures for principals, including tailored coaching, professional development, and resources that align with the ever-evolving landscape of education. Principals need ongoing opportunities to enhance their leadership skills, navigate challenges, and stay in tune with innovations that elevate and streamline their practices. Investing in their development is an investment in the success of our schools.

One critical element of effective principal support is acknowledging the dynamic nature of their roles. Principals are not just administrators, they are educational leaders shaping the future of our students. As such, our support mechanisms must focus on leadership development, equipping principals with the tools to inspire and guide their teams toward excellence.

To add more complexity to this issue, the challenges faced by principals are not one-size-fits-all. Tailored support that addresses the unique needs of each school leader is essential. Recognizing the diversity of our educational landscape requires a nuanced approach, one that respects the individuality of each school while promoting a collective commitment to excellence.

Supporting principals is not a luxury–it is a strategic necessity. When principals thrive, their schools thrive, creating a ripple effect that positively impacts students, teachers, and the community at large. Conversely, neglecting to support principals sets the stage for systemic breakdown, hindering our ability to provide a high-quality education for all students.

In an era where educational challenges are multifaceted and complex, our commitment to supporting principals is an investment in the future. It is a recognition that the success of our schools is contingent on the strength of their leaders. As CEO of BetterLesson, I advocate for a paradigm shift–one where we prioritize the support of principals as an integral component of our educational strategy.

The success of our educational system is contingent on the success of our principals. To set our schools on a trajectory toward excellence, we must acknowledge the nuanced challenges faced by principals and provide them with the comprehensive support they need and deserve. By investing in the development and empowerment of our school leaders, we pave the way for a thriving educational ecosystem that benefits students, educators, and communities alike. We must elevate education by elevating our principals.

Principals and school leaders need their own version of professional development. If you are interested in leadership training in your school or district, we can help!

Get in Touch