Be a School Leader: The 16 Best Resources for School Administrators

The role teachers play in the educational system is significant and vital, but if teachers are the heart of the operation, administrators are the bones. You support teachers, forge relationships with students and the public, and strive to create a school environment that is beneficial for everyone who walks through the doors. How can you take your role to the next level and become an even more effective administrator? The following resources may be just what you need.

Build Relationships

Relationship building

Image via Flickr by flazingo_photos

You perform a delicate balancing act. You must stay within a budget, help teachers get the tools and support they need, and connect with parents when issues arise. How can you have strong relationships in every aspect of your professional life? Here are some places you can turn to for help:

  • You’re good at your job, and you know its ins and outs, but sometimes a question pops up that throws you for a loop—not because you don’t know the answer but because you don’t know how to provide that answer. This list of five questions people should ask principals will spur you to think about how you would answer each one; maybe the answers will highlight areas where you have room for improvement.
  • Often it is the little things that constitute the difference between strong relationships and weaker ones. Education Dive shares nine common pet peeves that teachers have when it comes to administration. If it has been a while since you were a teacher yourself, the list will refresh your memory and help you cultivate empathy.
  • Looking for ways to connect with staff members and parents? Connected Principals offers ideas on how to do that easily and without cost through technology. While you’re visiting the site, check out some of the other posts; the material comes from respected names in education and aims to help school administrators amp up their performance.
  • The “cool” gap is a tough hurdle when you are trying to get your students focused on education. An article from the “San Francisco Bay Guardian” tells the story of Joe Truss, the assistant principal of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, who creates rap music videos to open dialogues with students.
  • An article from Marygrove College reports that sending out positive faculty memos each week contributes to a better school environment. The article outlines five reasons why this is the case. The memos can get you and your teachers organized, save time during faculty meetings, allow you to share your own experiences, plant the seeds of good ideas, and recognize teachers’ accomplishments.

Sharpen Your Leadership Skills

It is one thing to build healthy relationships; it is another thing to transform yourself into an effective leader. Whether you have served as an administrator for years or you’re fresh on the job, the following resources may help you hone the way you lead.

  • Edutopia poses and answers the question “What Makes a Great School Leader?“. The post explains that the best administrators are visionary leaders and community builders, and they have emotional intelligence.
  • How do you encourage others to take up the noble responsibilities that come with being a principal or other type of school administrator? This blog post points out that many teachers have a negative view of the principal’s job. Changing such an erroneous perception can inspire the best teachers to progress to a higher level of leadership.
  • Teachers and support staff may not technically be your employees, but you can use the same principles that business owners use with employees to build good relationships. This article from Inc. lists nine ways to forge solid bonds with those who depend on your leadership.
  • There is no perfect recipe for leadership, but there are some simple things you can do right now to improve your skills. Forbes points out four things you should do, including earn respect, learn from your team, share the lessons you learn, and improve on your past decisions.
  • Pete Mammoth’s Guide to Effective Leadership serves up a list of 100 tips with the potential to help you perform better in your role as an administrator. While the tips do not go into much detail, they can still spark your thinking.
  • Good leaders do more than direct and delegate. They also listen. Psychology Today provides some pointers on how to improve your listening skills, like noticing what goes unsaid and knowing when to interrupt.

General Information for Administrators

Principal office image

Image via Flickr by ecastro

Leadership and relationship building are both important, but so is getting specific, concrete tips to enhance your job skills. These resources delve into topics such as how to build a safer school environment and how to approach discipline.

  • Maine’s state government offers a report that covers how to create a school environment in which no one feels threatened. The report presents 20 strategies dealing with safety, security, school climate, school culture, emergency preparedness, and mental health services.
  • While a roomy budget and an innovative curriculum contribute to a school’s success, the most important elements are the people. This article from Marshall Tuck explains both how vital teachers and principals are and makes suggestions about how to retain those great people in schools. While much of the material is from a political point of view, you can still use the underlying principles to think about how your school works.
  • Just getting started on your career as an administrator? George Couros, a thought leader in education, offers four tips to help you be a strong, successful principal from the start. His suggestions encourage you to build relationships, value staff members, show instructional leadership, and focus on growth more than on change.
  • Mobile devices can prove indispensable in helping you save time and communicate efficiently. The Journal briefly explains the value of 15 apps that will make your job a little easier.
  • The Justice Center presents a free webinar for administrators, educators, and staff that talks about how to refine discipline policies within schools. It even showcases examples from across the country.

How well you perform on the job can affect the performance of your entire school. You want to get every professional advantage possible, and that starts with continuing your education. The above resources have the power to help you do so.


  1. Tri Training Online College

    November 24, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    “It is one thing to build healthy relationships; it is another thing to transform yourself into an effective leader.”

    Great read! I just shared with our office staff.


  2. Lyna

    December 2, 2015 at 4:56 am

    Today is our 2nd day of School Head Development Program: Advance Course for Senior High School School Heads. One of our topics is empowering leadership. I was able to relate our topic to this article especially on what leaders do more than just direct & delegate. They need to listen.

    Thanks for this informative article & going to share to other school heads.

  3. Alesha Major

    December 4, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    As a student at the University of Oregon and someone looking to be an educator, it was a pleasure reading what administrators can and are doing to help build relationships with their teachers and colleagues. I strongly believe this relationship between the two professionals is the backbone students unconsciously strive from. This sets the foundation for their education. Thank you for the informative articles.


    December 30, 2015 at 8:56 am

    That’s good, a good leader is a good listener, For the leaders to prosper, they need to listen to their subjects and pick the advice where need be. Give opportunities to their subjects for proper grooming for the next generation.