Shifting Again


At the beginning of this school semester, I was promoted to principal at Clayton Heights secondary, a midsize school in the middle class neighbourhood of Cloverdale, Surrey. I must admit that the paradigm shift in leadership for me occurred almost immediately.

That first day of school was very interesting for me and eye-opening. I walked into a totally new environment and watched my two vice principals, office staff and counselors in full work mode. Schedules were being printed, students were being directed to classrooms, furniture was being moved, and more. All the time, I stood back observing from afar. It felt a bit surreal giving up control to everybody else.

I have never been a micro-managing leader but the anxiety that I felt while standing there must have been evident to those around me. It was an almost out of body experience where I had no control of all the things that were happening – very efficiently, I might add. There was even an inkling of my mind about whether I had made the right decision.

As the week wore on, I finally became more accustomed to my new role. The most important thing that I did learn was the principle of “letting it go”. This is new to me – whether it is at home or at school. Allowing myself to “relax” and trust in the process. Having confidence in your staff is a big thing for me – as a vp, there were times where it was just easier to get it done but that shift in working to build capacity in others is starting to happen for me as each day goes on.


The best advice that I received from my peers was relationship advice. Go get out there and visit teachers and classrooms; get them to know who you are. As I have always thrived on the building of relationships, this should be an easy task.


Wish me luck on this journey – stay tuned for exciting stories from the principals office.

Make it so!



  1. Hey Pal,

    First, congratulations on the principal gig! I’m sure you are going to be great at it — particularly because you ARE a relationship builder, and relationships are everything to being a successful principal. The bosses I worked the hardest for were the ones I knew cared about me. You’ll be that guy for many of your staff.

    And second, never underestimate capacity building in others. If you are building a team, that matters. If you are building a kingdom, it doesn’t.

    Hope you are well and happy,

    February 13, 2016
  2. Congratulations! I love your post, and can totally relate to how you feel because I ‘started again’ last year. It was surreal to me too, to think that I didn’t even really need to be there but, man, my secretaries couldn’t even take off for a dentist appointment. Excellent choice to focus on relationships. Can’t know where to lead unless you know where your starting point is! Best wishes…you are a gift to your new school!

    February 13, 2016

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