From High School Vice Principal to Elementary Principal: What I’ve Learned from the Transition So Far

9 Responses

  1. Lesley Nightingale says:

    Much to reflect! I have a weekly coffee with my best friend (Monique) and many of our conversations sound like your post but without the in depth academic support-it’s coffee! Please keep the posts coming it’s fascinating 😄

  2. aunt estelle says:

    Oh Jessica you’ve outdone yourself. WONDERFULLY insightful and so well written! I really want you to move to Ottawa and run our kid’s school! Our little people NEED you!

  3. Ammie H says:

    I am looking to make the move from a high school AP to an elementary principal. I was a secondary educator before becoming a secondary administrator. What suggestions do you have for me to learn, research, explore the world of elementary to make me more marketable? ALL and ANY tips would be appreciative.

    • Thanks for your note! Good question! In the elementary panel admin is much more hands-on in the instructional program than in the secondary panel. I recommend spending time reviewing the curriculum (especially Math and Language). Reflect on Growing Success through the lens of a primary teacher. Check out the Kindergarten curriculum document–it’s excellent. Try following some blogs or Twitter feeds of strong elementary teachers to see examples of rich learning happening in classrooms. If you search on Twitter for #onted or #edchat you will find a number of educators. Spend time with Stuart Shanker’s work on self-regulation–very useful. Find some people who are working in elementary and ask lots of questions about everything. The Ontario Ministry of Education monographs are also amazing. There is lots of stuff out there! No shortage of resources. Some possible questions to reflect on might be: How will you use student learning needs to inform staff learning needs? And then use student and staff learning needs to inform your learning needs? What do you hope your vision/legacy will be for the instructional program? What does the shift look like when discussing behaviour with a 16 year old vs. a 6 year old? What are the ideal conditions for learning?–visualize what it looks like/sounds like in each division. When you walk into a kindergarten/primary/junior class how do you know the learning is happening?

  4. Mark Dempsey says:

    I am in my 29th year as a public school educator at the secondary level. Over the past few years I have felt a strong urging to become an elementary assistant principal. I am certified in Secondary Administration only and our state makes it almost impossible to add elementary. I do have limited administration experience at the secondary level, but I KNOW that I can be an asset in an elementary school. What advice can you give me? I have had an excellent career teaching and coaching in high schools (respected and even honored as my school’s Teacher of the Year in the past), but I’m ready for a change. I still have a lot of gas in the tank and do not want to retire. However, I’m not having much luck with the certification issues I’m facing in my state!

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