School & District Management

What Teachers Value Most in Their Principals

By Hayley Hardison — October 21, 2021 1 min read
Illustration of job candidate and check list.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In honor of National Principals Month, Education Week asked teachers on social media to share what they love most about their principals. We received dozens of responses from our readers. Five key attributes emerged as the most valued traits in school leaders.

Here are some top-notch qualities of principals, as told by teachers.


In a 2019 Education Week article, four teachers shared how principals can foster meaningful connections inside the school building. One teacher offered that “[p]rincipals can build strong relationships with their staff by being respectful, supportive, and by trusting teachers as professionals.”

Some of those who responded on Twitter also spoke to the need for trust in school staff.

He allows us to teach our subject matter. He gives teachers the autonomy to modify the curriculum to meet our student needs. He has confidence in us and he does not micro-manage.
My principal has confidence in me and my coworkers and helps us do our best work. He's fair and supportive when we face conflicts or negative pressure from parents or community members.


Respondents also highlighted their principals’ supportiveness as one quality they value in a school leader.

My principal, Brian Riddick, is kind, fair, and supports me in all my teaching endeavors and projects. This year he set a main idea for our school titled: “Champions Mindset.” It’s been a tough year so far but he is doing his best to lead the ship. Happy principal appreciation month Mr. Riddick of Butler College Prep!
My principal is supportive to staff. He plans worktime during professional development and adjusts the schedule to meet staff needs, if possible. He injects fun into our days.


In August, we invited principals and school leadership experts to share their perspectives on how to tackle decisionmaking this year. Some of those interviewed stressed the importance of being a good listener, and one middle school principal even planned virtual listening sessions for parents, staff members, students during the pandemic.

Our respondents agreed that receptiveness is a must-have principal quality.

I teach [at two] schools. Both these administrators are there any time I have a question, and have listened to some extremely personal conversations when I needed a friendly ear. And they’re excellent leaders, and serve students’ needs both educational and personal.
@MrCarneyCMS not only listens but hears me. That support is priceless.


Personality plays a big role in whether a principal is well-liked among staff, according to our readers.

What I 💙 about my principal @HutchJLH is his personality. There's not one day this year that I haven't laughed with him. He's an amazing leader. #Connectin5
Her open-mindedness, dedication, trust and great sense of humor.
I love our Principal bc of his school spirit! Here is us on pajama day. He wore a flannel suit. #PrincipalsInAction #AllIn @chadedaddy


Last but not least, compassion is key.

I love that my principal is empathetic and understands human nature.
@RushwoodPrin recognizes that education is about helping the WHOLE child and building a community. Kids emotional growth is just as important as their academic growth and teamwork is paramount! Thanks Dr. O'Mara! :)
Despite of the fact she call[s] me Constanza😂, I love how she cares for all the people around her. That cookie on that Monday morning was such a cool and delicious surprise❤️ @pueblaexquisita Ms. Suzanne, thank you for being the person you are as a leader❤️ Congratulations on your #principalsmonth 🎉🎉🎉

For more reading, check out our 15 Must-Reads in Honor of Principals Month.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Your Questions on the Science of Reading, Answered
Dive into the Science of Reading with K-12 leaders. Discover strategies, policy insights, and more in our webinar.
Content provided by Otus
Mathematics Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Breaking the Cycle: How Districts are Turning around Dismal Math Scores
Math myth: Students just aren't good at it? Join us & learn how districts are boosting math scores.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion Teachers and Students Need Support. 5 Ways Administrators Can Help
In the simplest terms, administrators advise, be present by both listening carefully and being accessible electronically and by phone.
10 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
School & District Management Opinion When Women Hold Each Other Back: A Call to Action for Female Principals
With so many barriers already facing women seeking administrative roles, we should not be dimming each other’s lights.
Crystal Thorpe
4 min read
A mean female leader with crossed arms stands in front of a group of people.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva
School & District Management Opinion Want a Leadership Edge? You Already Have What You Need
School leaders are faced daily with challenging situations. Here's how to prevent the tail from wagging the dog in responding.
Danny Bauer
4 min read
Screen Shot 2024 04 05 at 5.35.06 AM
School & District Management When Interventions Aim at Relationships, Academics and Attendance Improve
Connecting a student to adults—and peers—has been a missing link in early-warning systems.
4 min read
Image of a data dashboard.
Suppachok Nuthep/iStock/Getty