I thought I understood my responsibilities when I assumed my first leadership position as an Assistant Principal. Why? Because I had served in leadership positions while I was in the military. In addition, I was a highly effective teacher; therefore, I thought I was prepared to be a great Assistant Principal.

However, after my first week on the job, I realized I had a lot to learn about being an effective administrator. While my leadership experience in the Army helped me, I needed to learn how to help teachers, students, and parents navigate curriculum, technology, and educational policy changes while maintaining a safe and caring learning environment.  

So, what did I do? Over the next several months, I immersed myself in learning everything I could from my colleagues. I look for additional projects to increase my knowledge and enhance my skills. As a result, when I assumed my position as the Principal, I was prepared to create the conditions for student success.

In the intricate voyage of education, administrators stand as the captains, steering the ship of the school district toward the shores of excellence.

This blog post delves into the pivotal role of administrators, including principals and superintendents, as stakeholders in the school district. They provide leadership, set strategic goals, and collaborate with other stakeholders to shape the vision and direction of the entire educational community.

Administrators play a central role in providing visionary leadership for the school district. Principals and superintendents, as educational leaders, are responsible for setting the tone, establishing a positive school culture, and ensuring a conducive learning environment. Their leadership extends beyond the day-to-day operations, encompassing the formulation and implementation of long-term strategic plans.

One of the primary responsibilities of administrators is to set strategic goals that align with the school district’s overall vision. These goals serve as a compass, guiding the district toward continuous improvement and educational excellence. By defining clear objectives, administrators create a roadmap that informs decision-making processes and shapes the trajectory of the educational journey.

Administrators bear the weight of making decisions that impact the entire educational community. Whether it’s resource allocation, policy implementation, or addressing challenges within the district, administrators must make informed choices that prioritize the well-being of students, teachers, and staff. Effective decision-making requires a delicate balance between various stakeholders’ interests and the overarching goal of educational excellence.

Successful administration thrives on collaboration with other stakeholders in the school district. Administrators work closely with teachers, parents, students, and support staff to create a shared vision for the district. By fostering open lines of communication and collaboration, administrators ensure that the entire educational community is actively involved in shaping the district’s direction and contributing to its success.

A visionary district requires effective implementation of its goals and objectives. Administrators play a critical role in translating the district’s vision into actionable plans, ensuring that initiatives are carried out effectively. This involves coordinating efforts, allocating resources strategically, and monitoring progress toward established goals.

In the dynamic landscape of education, administrators must exhibit adaptability and foresight. They navigate curriculum, technology, and educational policy changes, ensuring that the district remains responsive to evolving needs. By staying informed and embracing innovation, administrators lead the district through challenges and opportunities, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

“Leadership is not about being in charge. It’s about taking care of those in your charge.”

– Simon Sinek

Administrators shape the educational landscape as the school district’s guiding force through leadership, strategic planning, and collaboration. Recognizing their pivotal role as stakeholders is essential for creating a resilient and successful academic community.

By steering the ship with wisdom and vision, administrators lay the foundation for a journey toward excellence, ensuring every student receives the quality education they deserve.


The views shared in the Educational Leadership Moment are solely mine and do not reflect the positions of my employer or any entity within the local, state, or federal government sectors.

  • We started leadership in such a similar way. I had been recognized by a superintendent as having such an impact as I worked with leadership teams in underperforming schools. The superintendent ultimately asked me to join her as she shifted her focus onto curriculum and instruction.

    The experience I gained from studying beyond my job titles in the past prepared me for the work. However, what I had to learn was far beyond just curriculum. I walked into a situation in which I had to learn how to lead inexperienced directors, build relationships with people that perceived me as an “outsider” and take a district that was taken over by the state through state accreditation.

    As I worked in this new role, I learned so much. District leaders have the global view of what our students need and the practices, activities and resources they must provide to fulfill the needs. The thinking might be ….If our students have this need, what might their teachers need? If our teachers have this need then what might our school leaders need? If our school leaders have this need, what might our administrators need? The reflection questions assist with the writing of the District Strategic Plan.

    Administrators determine what is needed at the school level to align with the district goals. However, most administrators that I’ve worked with understood alignment of expectations and would even use the language within their planning with school level staff however they struggled with the actual depth of the work. This revelation helped me to develop my mental model of my work with them which started with building relationships. School level administrators had to see me as a team member in order to release external locus of control to become vulnerable enough to receive my support. They had to also view me as a person with no hidden agenda and as truly invested in what was best for students. Once I took the time to establish all of those basic but needed steps, administrators saw me as a partner within their “think tank”. They saw me as a person that would not just nod and grin because they were the principal but as a person that was a strategic partner that empowered them to become the leaders in which they needed that support in becoming.

    Again, the wealth of knowledge I acquired from learning educational pedagogy prepared me for acquiring the position. However it was not about me, the “leader”. The lessons I learned was more about relationships necessary for “leading” leaders as they developed skills necessary for fulfilling the district’s goals.

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    About the author

    I'm Kim, your Educational Leadership Guide. I equip educational leaders with research-based and experientially learned educational leadership principles and best practices to promote student success.