As I prepared for new teacher training, I came across an Education World article with sound advice for first-year teachers, including a list of the “ABCs” that would help make them successful in the classroom. I took the concept and modified it for new administrators.





  • Accept all responsibility but give all credit.
  • Battles—pick them wisely and fight for what is important.
  • Communicate with all stakeholders.
  • Develop a team approach.
  • Empower your teachers to do what is best for students.
  • Find a mentor.
  • Get into classrooms early and often.
  • Have the courage to admit when you are wrong and learn from your mistakes.
  • Institute clear expectations for students and staff.
  • Join your state and national association(s).
  • Keep your superintendent in the loop.
  • Learn your corporation or district’s policies and procedures.
  • Manage your emotions.
  • Never quit, never give up!
  • Organize yourself.
  • Prepare for the unexpected.
  • Quit beating yourself up and focus on doing your best.
  • Read Principal Leadership, NASSP Bulletin, and the Principal’s Update e-newsletter.
  • Stay focused on what is important, not just what is urgent.
  • Take time for yourself. Be healthy and live a balanced life.
  • Understand other people’s points of view.
  • Visibility—get out of your office and into the hallways, classrooms, and cafeteria.
  • Write notes of appreciation.
  • X-amine yourself and reflect often.
  • Yearn for continuous improvement.
  • Zero in on what is best for your students. Make decisions with your students in mind.

As you start your new school year as a relatively new administrator, I would also encourage you to reach out to others in the profession, ask questions, and seek advice. Nothing great is ever achieved alone—it takes teamwork and trusting others to be successful. Knowing you are not alone and that others may be facing the same challenges can help you place things in the correct perspective.

If you are a veteran administrator, I’d encourage you to seek out new principals, assistant principals, and deans. Offer your assistance or simply listen. A great way to connect with fellow administrators is by attending your state association’s district meetings. If your state does not have district meetings, then I encourage you to start your own collaboration by hosting a meeting with your colleagues. Who are your colleagues you can go to for collaboration? How can you assist others in our profession? 

Enjoy your journey and have a great start to your school year.

Dave Strouse is principal of Batesville Middle School in Batesville, IN. He is the 2018 Indiana Secondary Principal of the Year. Follow him on Twitter at @Batesville_BMS.


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