Today marks the start of National Principals Month, and it is truly and exclusively a pleasure to have this opportunity to celebrate and honor you. There has never been a year that it was more called for, more deserved, or more needed.
Your leadership has been a beacon as our nation continues to navigate the fits and starts and setbacks of the last two years. Despite changing regulations, evolving health and safety protocols, faculty shortages, and heightened emotional needs from all members of the school community, you have led forward with creativity, care, and an unrelenting commitment to give students consistency and support, and keep them learning.
Some of you are facing personal and professional threats just for doing your jobs. Your character, decisions, positions, and physical safety are being assailed as you stand in the center of conflicts over masks, quarantines, vaccines, and other divisive issues. While under intense scrutiny for every action and decision, all of which are high stakes in these times, too often your expertise is being called into question and dismissed, compromising your agency and ability to guide your schools as only you know they need.
You may be torn and tired and, whether you have had time to acknowledge it or not, you may also be dealing with your own burnout in addition to managing the stress of your staff. You may be carrying the water and the weight for so many.
Saying thank you is not enough. People, especially those in decision-making positions, need to be listening.
We at NASSP have always known this and are taking action with a new urgency to elevate your voices in the halls of power. Last month, we launched an advocacy appeal to President Biden, Secretary Cardona, and Congress to do more to protect school leaders from rampant hostility and violence that disrupts our schools and threatens the safety of educators and students. We are also finding ways to create the space and opportunity for you to come together as school leaders in solidarity and learning.
Thanks to the many school leaders who took action, we are being heard. I have received calls from the White House, Department of Education and members of Congress asking what you need and how they can help you; mainstream media is seeking out your stories and perspectives; and other education organizations are reaching out to clasp hands with us and join the cause.
The challenges are not all behind us, but I know that you will continue to lead and serve as the stalwart heart of your learning communities. National Principals Month is a reason to celebrate all that you do, but please know that NASSP is here for you every day: lifting you up, watching your back, and helping to smooth the path as you lead forward.
And while it is not enough, it still needs to be said—from me and everyone at NASSP: