Becoming a School Principal

You’ve been teaching for many years (or maybe just a few years!), and you are starting to get an itch. This itch isn’t to leave the field of education, but rather, you are starting to feel ready for the next level in school leadership. Teachers are leaders, but the next level of leadership is a challenge you are feeling and you think you want to take the leap. You feel guilty about leaving your peers and becoming an administrator, and when you voice your thoughts to these peers, you get weird or even dirty looks, like you are a traitor. You start to wonder if this itch is real or is it a glancing thought.

Here are a few things that you should consider before taking the leap into school leadership.

Graduate School

If you want to lead for the betterment of the students, go for it! If you are thinking you want to make a true difference for students and their learning, do not hesitate, go to your nearest graduate program and apply to graduate school. If you are thinking, “I am tired of all the hard work that comes along with being a classroom teacher, and being a principal looks easy,” please reconsider your decision. As hard as classroom teachers work to help all their students be successful in a day, a principal has many other responsibilities. Guess what? Great principals do not escape the classroom, rather their new classroom is the entire school. Every teacher and student is now their student. This is truly a great responsibility. If this excites you, go for it!

Confrontation and Composure

Making tough decisions are a scary thing for some people. Some will even say, “I am non-confrontational, I can’t be a principal.” This statement is negative self-talk and is a false assumption of what a principal must be. You can be a very successful principal and still be non-confrontational. Some of the best leaders are quiet leaders who can handle a stressful situation decisively, while at the same time maintaining a positive and low-key demeanor. This low-key demeanor will help you become successful at handling situations, so do not talk yourself out of an advanced leadership position based on a false narrative that a non-confrontational personality will not be a successful leader!

Make it Fun!

“I am not interested in becoming a principal because my former principals always looked tired and stressed out, and they never looked like they were having fun.” This at times can be an accurate description of a principal, though I’d like to think that no matter how tired they are, they still have fun. I found the principal job to be a lot of fun. Your enjoyment level in any job mainly comes from one person: you! I would encourage you to take a step towards reaching your next leadership position and make it fun. The choice is yours nine out of ten times.


With all this said, if you are feeling an itch to move into the principal position, scratch it! Find a graduate program that works well with your teaching schedule, enter a program, and begin your journey toward becoming a principal!

Are you ready to become a school principal? UMHB can help you take the first step! The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Graduate School offers individuals the opportunity to maintain a full-time career in education while earning a Master of Education degree. Three tracks of study are offered allowing students to focus on Educational Administration, Curriculum and Instruction, or Administration of Intervention Programs. For more information, we invite you to visit our website!
Dr. Todd Kunders

Dr. Todd Kunders

Dr. Todd Kunders currently serves within the College of Education where he has the opportunity to work with both undergraduate and graduate students. 2015 marks his first year working as a full-time faculty member at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, following 10 years of service in public education as a teacher and principal.
Dr. Todd Kunders

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Dr. Todd Kunders

About Dr. Todd Kunders

Dr. Todd Kunders currently serves within the College of Education where he has the opportunity to work with both undergraduate and graduate students. 2015 marks his first year working as a full-time faculty member at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, following 10 years of service in public education as a teacher and principal.