Most organizations are fortunate to have someone they can label a “linchpin”—the person Seth Godin describes in his book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? as the one who “figures out what to do when there’s no rulebook” and constantly seeks ways to improve processes and face challenges. In schools, the linchpin is often the assistant principal, who bridges management and leadership in a way that provides them a unique perspective.

Yet, the very source of that perspective can be a challenge for districts. In an October 2016 report, “The Principal Pipeline Initiative in Action,” The Wallace Foundation identified the difficulty of keeping a foot in each world, calling the position “a training ground for principals and a place to assign managerial tasks.” 

Is it reasonable, for instance, for districts to hold APs to the same performance standards as principals? And if so, are APs getting the opportunities to shape a vision and lead instruction in ways that allow them to grow and prepare themselves to lead a school? Some progressive districts have undertaken thoughtful efforts to develop APs as APs. 

These efforts include rigorous selection methods, thoughtful and purposeful induction programs, and ongoing coaching throughout the AP’s tenure. And nationally, thanks in large part to the powerful work The Wallace Foundation is doing, we are pleased to see a spotlight on this ongoing challenge, and NASSP is proud to help lead efforts to address it.

NASSP is also proud to celebrate the role of the assistant principalship and the dedicated educators who meet the daily challenges of the role during National Assistant Principals Week, April 10–14. Thank you for your work and your passion. And thank you for allowing NASSP to accompany you on your professional journey.

JoAnn Bartoletti 
Executive Director, NASSP