Hire, retain, support…it’s that easy!

While researching standards for my post on leadership, I discovered the tenets of leadership as defined by the state of Texas. Intrigued, I decided to delve a bit deeper into each standard, and see how it truly relates to my role. While these standards could establish what defines a leader on paper,  I want to apply them to campuses today. Knowing that reflection is also a key component, there may be some twists and turns that jump out at me as I review each strand. The standards are also under review and going to change, so it will be interesting to see how “leadership” looks when it is redefined. This is post two in a series on “Texas Leadership Standards”, the entire series can be read here.

  • The leader is responsible for ensuring there are high-quality teachers and staff in every classroom and throughout the school.

I  recently blogged about how important a team is. There are many a cliche that supports that line of thinking. “You’re only as strong as your weakest link”, etc etc etc…

This aspect of the Texas Principal Standards can’t be seen as anything less than one of the most important facets of an administrators world. The staff that you surround yourself can make or break you, as we all know. Very rarely, however, do you get to start from scratch and hire an entire staff. What happens when you get traded mid season? (Sports tie in!)

You recognize that you have to make each person on your staff the very best that they can be. The answer isn’t to start looking at the weakest links and getting rid of them! No! What do you do with students in your class that needed extra support? You meet them where they are and help them grow.

Three simple ways to do this….first, set your expectations. Make sure your staff knows what your non negotiables are. Todd Whitaker shares that every student deserves to be treated with dignity and respect every day.  Period.  Along with that he listed 3 things that have absolutely no place in a school environment:

  1. arguing
  2. yelling
  3. sarcasm

That’s a good place to start. Our students deserve respect!

Second, differentiate the PD that you offer to your staff. There are going to be varying levels of abilities and wants and strengths within your team. Get to know your teachers and find out where they want to be supported/lifted up. As lead learners on their classrooms, they should understand that we want to model for our students that we are ALWAYS willing to learn. How can you help them grow? Are there trainings, conferences, books, resources, etc, that you can share? Take advantage of social media and use it to fine tune your staffs expertise!

Finally, do what you can to make your campus a place people WANT to come too. If there is a strong sense of commitment, of dedication and focus on student success (academically and personally) people will get on board and get behind you. Never underestimate what a “family” can do, together. Help foster that kind of environment. Are you a leader people would want to work for? It’s important to build trust. Listen to them. Have an open-door policy. Make sure they know they can come to you with any problem—personal or professional—and have your ear. It’s also crucial to  involve them in decision-making and value their perspective.

Building a team that you are proud of isn’t difficult. It does however take time, energy, and a positive outlook. I heard a great exchange once. Someone asked what do we do if we spend all this time and energy on our teachers and they leave? The response? What if you don’t and they stay!

not taking chances,

Amber