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15 Educational Leadership Skills for New School Administrators to Develop

15 Educational Leadership Skills for New School Administrators to Develop

As a new school administrator, are you wondering what educational leadership skills or traits you should be fine-tuning, learning, and developing? Look no further!

Do you find yourself dreaming of sitting in a school administrator’s office of your very own instead of the one you currently share with your students?

If so, it may be time to start thinking about moving from the classroom into an educational leadership role as an assistant principal or school principal.

Identifying and developing educational leadership skills and effectively incorporating these qualities in your principal resume to target the desired position will be critical to your career transition.

If you are a teacher, you already have many important educational leadership qualities to be a successful school leader.

Transitioning from the classroom to the principal’s office can seem like a daunting step to take, but it could be the best decision you ever make.

I understand how scary it can be to move outside your comfort zone of teaching into something new, exciting, and challenging, like leading a school.

Not every teacher has dreams of becoming a 21st Century school leader in education. Don’t get me wrong-a teacher is a leader – but not of the entire school.

Only those who have tended to seek out top leadership positions and leadership roles throughout their lives will have the desire to pursue a leadership role in education. And whether you are happier in the classroom or want to lead a school, either choice will be perfect for your specific situation.

However, if you dream of becoming a school leader, I want to help you!

There are hundreds of educational administration jobs available in the United States, Canada, and Internationally. They include coordinators, vice-principals, principals, heads of schools, business administrators, educational administrators, assistant superintendents, and superintendents. So there are lots of leadership positions available for you to choose from.

Research career trends in education to see what’s hot and align with your values, motivators, interests, and skills.

In most cases, a school administrator is required to have teaching experience before accepting a job in administration and an administrative license or credential. If you already have these, you are well on your way to applying for administrative positions, such as school principal or vice-principal.

If you have already gained leadership experience in your teaching career by leading a department, mentoring student teachers, serving as the lead teacher, or coordinating professional development or extracurricular activities, you can use this skill base as a foundation for an educational leadership position.

“When you know what you want, and you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way to get it”

– Jim Rohn

15 Educational Leadership Qualities to Transition to Administration

In this post, you will discover 10 tips designed to assist educators seeking to be strong administrators and better leaders. Not only will you find these career tips helpful if you are a budding leader, but you can pass them on to seasoned administrators as well – everyone can use a little brushing up on their skills.

These skills will help you to write a resume to transition from teaching to educational leadership. The art of resume writing is to target the resume to the desired job using relevant skills and accomplishments. Plus, using keywords that are relevant to the position you are seeking is critical.

1.Demonstrate Teambuilding and Collaboration Skills

As one of the school’s “head honchos,” you are directly responsible for leading your team of staff and students to succeed. Therefore, you must develop and demonstrate how you can unite the school as one and lead in times of crisis or change. Be the first person to take action when something goes wrong.

Make sure that the school population knows they can turn to you right away. Propose new ideas to bring together teachers of different schools of thought to learn and flourish through extraordinary collaboration. Most teachers participate in extracurricular activities to become excellent team players. 

2. Ability to Coordinate with Diverse People

More than likely, your particular school is a multicultural melting pot concerning students and staff alike. Treat all individuals equally, regardless of gender, race, age, creed, socio-economic level, etc.

Put your prejudices behind you and strive to make this a highly inclusive and welcoming learning environment. Besides, you will have to learn to work with several different personalities – some will be very easy to get along with, while others may be difficult and frustrating.

Take the time to get to know your staff as individuals, learn what personality type each of them falls into, and figure out how to coordinate with them accordingly.

3. Foster Strong Written and Verbal Communication Skills

Whether you are speaking at an assembly, addressing the school board, or writing grant proposals, or your philosophy of administration and leadership, you must be able to communicate your thoughts clearly and concisely. If you find you struggle with either writing or public speaking, it may be a good idea to take night classes or distance learning courses to improve these pertinent skills.

How you represent yourself verbally or in written correspondence will indicate how you will be a leader. You want to come off as a strong, knowledgeable, and confident administrator, both in person and on paper.

4. Organize and Encourage Professional Development Seminars and In-services

All staff in your building needs to keep their skills sharpened and their minds alert. An excellent way to achieve this is to bring in guest speakers or coordinate seminars that cater to a broad audience.

Promote topics that are outside-the-box or are addressed less frequently than basic
classroom instruction skills. These may include maintaining a stress-free life, innovatively reaching students, renewing the joy of teaching, and bringing the classroom to life.

Do not make these in-services mandatory; instead, let your employees know that you will be attending and express why they must participate as well.

5. Remain Up-to-date on Current Educational Administration Trends or Concerns

In the field of education, new thoughts, techniques, and devices are rising rapidly. It is essential that you stay on top of these issues, understand them, know how to communicate these new ideas to colleagues, and are willing to incorporate as many inspiring inventions as possible.

Not only will this assist you as an individual, but it will also aid in bettering your school and staff and help your institution rank highly within the district or region. Furthermore, if you think you have a groundbreaking idea, do not hesitate to share it with fellow educators or strive to publish an article in a reputable journal.

6. Promote School Spirit Events

If student and staff morale remains high, so will test scores. By arranging assemblies, fundraisers, and other school-wide events regularly, you will surely attract positive attention and boost school spirit, resulting in greater enrollment rates and a lower teacher turnover rate.

Fundraisers are a great method for gaining additional income to put toward new computers and technology, sports teams, after-school clubs, and other extra-curricular areas that may need some financial help. By asking students and staff to participate, you are truly creating a school community where everyone feels included and valued.

7. Encourage Community Involvement and Promotional Events

If you are a new school administrator, it is of the utmost importance that you make an excellent first impression on the local community. By hosting open houses for the school and promoting community involvement amongst your students and staff, you will foster strong relationships with close neighbors and local businesses.

There may come a time when you need to reach out to these individuals or organizations. If you are already on good terms with them and have established respect for yourself and your school, this should be a relatively easy task.

8. Maintain an Optimistic, Can-do Attitude

Whether you face a crisis at the school or the trials of a gloomy economy, make sure that you remain positive and upbeat. If the educational leader is optimistic and promotes an attitude that things will get better, this feeling will be contagious with the other staff.

Enthusiasm is another great asset that you must possess and display to be an effective administrator. Enthusiasm, like positivity, is contagious. If you demonstrate how eager you are about an upcoming school event or learning a new technology application that the school has acquired, it will be much easier to get the rest of the school on board.

9. Offer Positive Reinforcement to Students and Staff

As mentioned above, positivity can be a great driving force. By offering positive encouragement to students and staff, such as letting them know you are proud of them or rewarding them for a job well done, you will be able to cultivate a happy, productive, and success-driven learning environment.

People want to feel good about their jobs and, as the new school administrator, you need to help your staff with this. Like teachers reward their students, you can hold special ceremonies or staff appreciation days to boost staff morale and let individuals know how much you value them.

10. Play an Active Role in IEP Development

Individualized Education Plans/Programs play a crucial role in assisting students with disabilities or delayed skills. As such, you should want to be a part of IEP planning and development, regardless of the role you currently hold. By speaking with colleagues, parents, and students, you will show that you are truly dedicated to helping all students learn and progress.

Furthermore, you will have some great ideas to lend to make IEP’s more effective. Get input from other administrators throughout the district as well – the more minds working together, the more creative the ideas, the better the program.

11. Drive Learning and Success for All

As noted above, school leaders must be advocates to help every child learn, regardless of age, grade level, disabilities, and personal circumstances.

Do as much as you can to build an inclusive and supportive school community dedicated to helping all students reach their full potential. This can include scheduling guest speakers, hiring specialists, making referrals to the appropriate agencies, locating helpful materials, and talking to parents.

If there are certain disabilities or social issues that you do not fully understand, do some extra research or attend conferences to help gain the necessary information.

12. Parent Relationship Building

Parents play a key role in the success of their children. The same can be said for the success of your school. Family members are a wonderful resource when you need extra help putting on a fundraiser or school-wide event.

If you would like to increase communication and familiarity with these individuals, you may want to hold parent workshops and attend PTA meetings. Workshops are also an effective way to introduce families to new school policies or innovations you wish to implement. By developing a strong relationship with parents, you and your staff will discover more about the students and learn how to accommodate their unique needs best.

13. Share Best Practices with Experienced and New School Administrators

As the adage goes, two heads are better than one. By working with other professionals in the same field, you will hear different perspectives on various topics of interest. If it is not already in place, try to organize a monthly meeting with educators and administrators from across the district.

Hold brainstorming sessions to discuss regional problems and creative solutions. Furthermore, by networking and developing strong, working relationships with like-minded professionals, you will have someone to call on in times of crisis or uncertainty.

14. Understand School Policies and the Superintendent’s Expectations

Regardless of how high you climb the administrative totem pole, there will always be someone higher than you, whether it is a principal, superintendent, or the school board. Therefore, you must know what is anticipated of you right from the start, thus leading to few, if any, misunderstandings and complications down the road.

Take the time to read and be able to identify with set school policies and procedures. If your boss is open to suggestions, make them tactfully. This is also an excellent way to forge a healthy relationship with him or her.

15. Retain a Professional Leadership Appearance

Style of dress, personal grooming habits, and overall appearance say a great deal about a person. If you want to be taken as a serious professional, then you must dress like one. This does not mean that you need to go out and buy suits or blazers worth thousands of dollars; it simply means that you need to look like you fit the part.

Do not break the bank trying to impress. Dress pants (or skirt) and a matching sports coat or blazer are all very fitting for an administrative position. Keep colors and/or prints tasteful. Besides your clothing, make certain that you keep up with personal grooming – showered, combed, and/or styled hair, fresh breath, neat nails, etc.

Wrapping up Educational Leadership Skills for New School Administrators

There are many other qualities to learn and develop if you wish to enter education administration. I will write another blog post on them in the future.

After you are confident in your skills and abilities as an educational leader, it is time to write a school administrator cover letter or resume to communicate you have the relevant expertise and experience to do the job. 

Backing up the leadership skills you possess by sharing success stories and examples is key to writing a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume to land school leadership job interviews.

Are you a new school administrator working on fine-tuning their educational leadership skills? Share any advice in the comment section.

Please review a sample principal resume to see how accomplishments are incorporated into the resume. Don’t forget to check out the matching cover letter while you are there.

If you need assistance writing your resume, please reach out to me by calling toll-free at 1 877 738-8052 or email candoco@telus.net. If you have time, you may wish to review our resume writing services.


“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”

Henry David Thoreau