Natasha Harris, principal of Lynn Hale Elementary School in Arlington, Tex., is an alum of the Holdsworth program for school leaders.
School & District Management Collection

15 Must-Reads in Honor of Principals Month

October is National Principals Month. We are taking this moment to show our appreciation for one of the most important, demanding, and isolated jobs in K-12 education.

The creativity and fortitude principals have shown during the pandemic has been impressive, but not surprising. Principals have always been passionate, innovative, and resourceful. They have to be.

The stories below demonstrate this, and show the immense impact principals can have on their students, staff, and communities.

We hope you find these pieces on principals informational and motivational. (Even more principal coverage is available here.)

For more stories and information specifically for school leaders, sign up for our Savvy Principal newsletter. (The latest edition is here.)

Natasha Harris, principal of Lynn Hale Elementary School in Arlington, Tex., is an alum of the Holdsworth program for school leaders.
In a photo taken July 8, 2021, Natasha Harris, principal of Lynn Hale Elementary School in Arlington, Texas, interacts with a student.
Allison V. Smith for Education Week
School & District Management 6 Tips for Principals to Survive—and Thrive
We asked principals about their biggest challenges. Here are strategies for tackling six common issues, from school leaders and experts.
Lesli A. Maxwell, October 18, 2018
3 min read
Image of diverse hands in a team huddle.
melitas/iStock/Getty
School & District Management Opinion Administrators Can Make or Break School Culture. Here’s How to Spot the Best Ones
Educator Mary Alicia Lyons shares her experiences working with administrators who’ve spanned the spectrum from frustrating to fantastic.
Mary Alicia Lyons, August 8, 2018
6 min read
Man tries to find exit from complicated path.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School & District Management Is Your Head Spinning? 7 Decisionmaking Tips for Principals
Principals are facing some of the toughest decisions of their careers during the pandemic. Here's advice from peers and experts.
10 min read
Principal Alethea Bustillo joins a 3rd grade class with students Lindsey Lazo Argueta, at left, and Yancy Gomez-Argueta at Bruce Monroe Elementary School in Washington.
Principal Alethea Bustillo joins a 3rd grade class with students Lindsey Lazo Argueta, at left, and Yancy Gomez-Argueta at Bruce Monroe Elementary School in Washington.
Alyssa Schukar for Education Week
School & District Management 6 Districts Invested in Principals and Saw Dramatic Gains. Dozens More Will Try to Do the Same
Scores rose dramatically in school districts that focused on improving principals. Now other districts hope to replicate that success.
Denisa R. Superville, February 11, 2020
7 min read
Mojdeh Henderson, the principal at Berewick Elementary School in Charlotte, N.C., sticks to a time-management plan that ensures she spends about 80 percent of her time in classrooms.
Mojdeh Henderson, the principal at Berewick Elementary School in Charlotte, N.C., sticks to a time-management plan that ensures she spends about 80 percent of her time in classrooms.
Chris Keane for Education Week
School & District Management 'I Want a Job and a Life': How Principals Find Balance in All-Consuming Work
School leaders who delegate to expert staff, adhere to a schedule, and commit to taking care of themselves can thrive, experts say.
Denisa R. Superville, October 16, 2018
6 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Melinda Beck for Education Week
School & District Management Opinion What It Takes to Be a Human First and a Principal Second
Leadership is a test. One very busy principal explains how he learned to pass.
Paul Kelly, November 27, 2018
4 min read
Principal Andrea Harper hugs a student as Harper and Superintendent Kent P. Scribner greet students on the first day of school Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, at T.A. Sims Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas.
Principal Andrea Harper hugs a student as she and Superintendent Kent P. Scribner greet students on the first day of school at T.A. Sims Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas. The Fort Worth district's mandate for universal masking to combat COVID-19 is the subject of a legal battle with the state.
Yffy Yossifor/Star-Telegram via AP
School & District Management Principals Bear the Brunt of Parental Anger, Staff Fatigue as COVID Drags On
As the face of their schools, principals are front and center in battles over masks, quarantines, and other hot-button COVID issues.
Andrew Ujifusa, September 10, 2021
10 min read
v40 9sr opinion digital
iStock/Laura Baker/Education Week and Getty
School & District Management Opinion What an Anti-Racist Principal Must Do
An anti-racist principal’s work must rest upon a strong moral foundation, writes Mark Anthony Gooden.
Mark Anthony Gooden, October 13, 2020
5 min read
Dawn Brooks-DeCosta is the principal of Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School in New York City. The school has a strong social justice mission, rigorous curriculum, and commitment to celebrating Black excellence
Dawn Brooks-DeCosta is the principal of Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School in New York City. The school has a strong social justice mission, rigorous curriculum, and commitment to celebrating Black excellence
Kirsten Luce for Education Week
School & District Management To Root Out Racism in Schools, Start With Who You Hire
The teachers that principals hire is one of the most powerful levers for turning schools into anti-racist institutions.
Denisa R. Superville, October 13, 2020
11 min read
Images shows boxes with checkmarks and x's.
Getty
School & District Management 4 Things Principals Can Do (and 4 Things They Shouldn't) to Build Relationships With Teachers
Veteran teachers give advice on how principals can foster meaningful buy-in among their school’s staff members.
Madeline Will, October 15, 2019
8 min read
Professional Development Video A Principal’s Guide to Coaching Teachers
The leadership team at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Early College conducts weekly observations and coaching sessions for every teacher.
Erin Irwin, October 17, 2019
4:41
School & District Management What This Principal Learned—and Changed—After His Day as a 'Student'
A principal spent a day as a 9th grader to get a more authentic view of students' experience. Here's what he learned and what he's changed.
Denisa R. Superville, January 14, 2020
5 min read
Carrie P. Meek/Westview K-8 Center principal Marchel Woods, center rear, greets parents dropping off their children for class on Oct. 5, 2020, at the Carrie P. Meek/Westview K-8 Center in Miami.
Carrie P. Meek/Westview K-8 Center principal Marchel Woods, center rear, greets parents dropping off their children for class on Oct. 5, 2020, at the Carrie P. Meek/Westview K-8 Center in Miami.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
School & District Management 10 Bold Ideas Principals Can Embrace This School Year
Principals, want to change things up this school year? Here are 10 suggestions—big and small—for rethinking what you do and how you lead.
Stacey Decker, August 10, 2018
3 min read
School & District Management Video Do NOT Go to the Principal’s Office
Bethany Hill, the principal at Central Elementary School in Cabot, Ark., shuns a formal office.
October 17, 2018
2:18
Illustration.
Kubkoo/iStock/Getty
School & District Management Opinion The #1 Factor That Determines a Toxic or Thriving School Culture
When it comes to the success of an entire school, nothing is more important than the relationship of the adults in the building.
Alex Kajitani, April 27, 2016
3 min read