5 Tips to Become a Better School Administrator or Director

 Use these 5 Tips to Become a Better Administrator

Throughout my years of teaching, I have encountered more than six directors and administrators. They were each so different and inspired me in so many ways. There were rules, expectations “buy-ins,” situations and opportunities for me to learn. I had always aspired to be an administrator so my first principal position was one of my favorites. I want to share some of the things that I learned from my supportive administrators.

The goal for me was to always support, engage, encourage and let my staff and faculty know that I supported them in all situations. That doesn’t mean that they were always right in making decisions, but I would support them and then we would discuss what to do.

1. Get to Know your Faculty and Staff

Teacher Meeting






Each team member is an important and unique individual that will help build your school community.

2. Build Relationships

Relationship Building





As a principal you want your team to get along. You are all there for the common good, and that is the student and families you work with.

A. Have monthly luncheons. You can do this by having a pot luck, or dividing into teams and having a themed lunch. Each group provides the meal that month.

B. Have monthly meetings and celebrate “personal” and “professional” accomplishments. Let others speak and get to know one another.

C. Have yearly secret pals. This does not have to cost a lot of money, and will build relationships. It can even be a monthly note pal that encourages others to do their best and thanks them for being a good team member.

3. Let your teachers know you support them

Support Team






A. Provide professional development that is relevant to what they need, to grow as professionals.

B. Take over lunch, hall, recess and bus duties so your teachers can have extra time to plan or meet as a team and with other grade levels.

4. Handwritten notes

Handwritten Note







Each Friday I would personally handwrite each teacher and staff member a note that told them how much I appreciated them and enjoyed working with them. I always put a candy bar, popcorn or some little treat in their mailbox with the note. I think it is important to engage with each teacher individually.

5. Be Visible








A. Be at the front of the building when the children enter and leave. Get to know each child’s name. Shake hands and welcome them. Show parents that drop their children off and pick their children up that you care.

B. Walk the halls and classrooms daily. This allows the teacher to see you understand what is going on in and out of the classroom. It shows the children that you are always there – this also eliminates discipline problems.

C. At the end of the day, do another walk through the building and see that each teacher had a great day and ask if you can help them in any way.

These are some of the things I vowed to do when I was a principal or a director. It was important to me, that each team member understood their role, but knew I supported them. Building a positive school environment can be a challenge, but as an administrator you have the ability to change that and build relationships. Take at least one tip and try to implement this into your practice – it may have a positive influence and it will make your faculty and staff feel appreciated!

This guest post was written by Tisha Shipley. Tisha has a doctorate of education in Curriculum and Instruction and has taught multiple grade levels at Moore Public Schools, including pre–K and gifted 3rd–6th graders.

You can find Tisha online in these places:


Photo Credits:

1st Photo – credit: [Lendingmemo]

2nd Photo is courtesy of Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography, under Creative Commons licensing.

3rd Photo is courtesy of Geraint Rowland, under Creative Commons licensing.

4th Photo is courtesy of the Minnesota National Guard, under Creative Commons licensing.

5th Photo is courtesy of SweetonVeg, under Creative Commons licensing
6th Photo is courtesy of Kurt and Becky, under Creative Commons licensing