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Beginning the Principalship

Beginning the Principalship
A Practical Guide for New School Leaders

Third Edition

Foreword by Gerald N. Tirozzi, Executive Director, National Association of Secondary School Principals, and Vincent Ferrandino, Executive Director, National Association of Elementary School Principals

200 pages | Corwin
'You cannot take on the principalship and view it as a job . . . . Simply stated, you have to view it as a special calling' - Jim Kelch, from Beginning the Principalship, Third Edition

The best way to learn the ropes is to have an expert at your side. Beginning the Principalship, Third Edition is exactly that kind of essential encouragement and help you need. Filled with updated and new information designed to help you survive your first years as headteacher, this new edition of John C. Daresh's bestseller provides the resources you need to become a strong and effective leader.

Find out how you can

o Manage others' expectations of you as headteacher;

o Master the technical skills necessary to run a school;

o Create and clarify your personal professional growth plan;

o Work effectively with the community;

o Incorporate staff in school goals and initiatives;

o Work more effectively with parents.

In compelling scenarios from new headteachers, Daresh focuses on the practical skills for developing a network, the process of finding mentors, and the importance of professional organizations. With the tools this guide offers, you will build the skills you need to thrive as a principal, growing more comfortable-and more confident-in your role as school leader!

About the Author
1. Introduction
Plan for the Book

Suggested Reading

2. A Framework for Understanding the Beginning Principalship
Case Study: Figuring Out the Papers

Case Study: To Go or Not to Go

Case Study: I’m Not a Politician

Balance Is the Key

Suggestions for Improvement and Professional Development

Building a Personal Plan


Part I: Technical and Managerial Skills
3. A Personal Leadership Checklist
Critical Leadership Skills

Your Personal Plan


4. Expectations for Technical and Managerial Skills
Some Apparent Contradictions

Formal Requirements

Informal Tasks

Before the Year Begins

After the Year Begins

Toward the End of the Year

Building a Personal Plan

Suggested Reading

5. Learning to Lead by Assisting
Remember Your Role

Using the Role for the Future

Your Personal Plan

Suggested Reading

6. Assuming Responsibility for Accountability
Terms of the No Child Left Behind Act

The Realities

Your Personal Plan


Part II: Socialization
7. Seeing Your Invisible Heroes
Office Workers

Custodial Staff

Food Service Workers

Building a Personal Plan


Suggested Reading

8. Parents as Partners?
Traditional Functions of Home-School Relations

Current Problems With School-Community Relations

Your Personal Plan


9. Others’ Expectations
Critical Skills for Beginning Principals: A Survey

So What Does This Mean?

Your Personal Plan

10. Learning Your School’s Culture
Don’t Just Look…See

Listen…Don’t Just Hear

Celebrate the Past

Develop an Action Plan

Part III: Self-Awareness
11. Reviewing Personal Values
Case: Because It’s Important to Me

Case: But What About the Children?

Building a Platform

What Do You Do With the Platform?

Your Personal Platform

12. Being a “Boss”
Others’ Perceptions

So What Do You Do?

Strategies to Reduce Isolation

Your Personal Plan

Suggested Reading

13. Building a Personal Timeline for Learning and Development
A Developmental Framework

What’s This Got to do With Me?

Developing a Personal Timeline for Action

Suggested Reading

14. Building a Support System
Strategy 1: Find a Mentor

Strategy 2: Develop Networks

Strategy 3: Participate in Professional Associations

Strategy 4: Maintain Personal and Family Support

Developing a Plan of Action

15. Some Concluding Thoughts
Not Just a Job

Keep Your Sense of Humor

How Far Are You Willing to Go?

Make Your School Your Family

Keep Your Eye on the Target

Last Words

Appendix: Beginning Principals’ Administrative Skills Assessment Instrument

"The major strengths of this book are the format and the emphasis on self-reflection and self-assessment. The information presented is solid and provides a great framework for the new principal."

Jim Hoogheem
Principal, Fernbrook Elementary School, Maple Grove, MN

"There is no doubt as to the purpose of this book. From the title to the end, it clearly is designed to help the new principal begin a successful career. The various sections which call for introspection and action are meaningful and will provide both the new and the experienced administrator many thought-provoking hours of self evaluation. This book makes a distinct contribution to the field. Even as an administrator with over 25 years of experience, there were several areas which caused me to go back and evaluate if I could do some things better."

Stephen Handley, Principal
Terry High School, Terry, MS

Sample Materials & Chapters




John C. Daresh

John C. Daresh is professor of educational leadership at the University of Texas at El Paso. Over the years, he has held faculty or administrative appointments at the University of Cincinnati, The Ohio State University, the University of Northern Colorado, and Illinois State University. He has also worked as a consultant on high school reform and administrator professional development for universities, state departments of education, national and state professional associations, and individual schools and districts across the United States, and also in Barbados, Canada, France, Holland, Israel, Turkey, South Africa, and Taiwan. By far, the... More About Author