School & District Management

What Teachers Value Most in Their Principals

By Hayley Hardison — October 21, 2021 1 min read
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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.

Trusting

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.

Supportive

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.

Receptive

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.

Personable

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
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Caring

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.

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