Ten Tips for New Leaders



Formerly a teacher, now an administrator-in-training, Chris Canter blogs about his yearlong assistant principal internship at Fulton County Public Schools in Atlanta, Ga. Canter was a 2010 ASCD OYEA honoree.

It has been quite an amazing year of learning and fun. As I think about preparing future education leaders, these are my top 10 suggestions for them, as a result of my experiences.

  1. Be flexible and don’t sweat it when your plans fall through; most of what you plan to do during the day will not get done.
  2. Celebrate even the most minor of successes; sometimes that’s all you have.
  3. Remember that your position is all about people; don’t lose your human touch.
  4. Admit when you make a mistake.
  5. Tears and screaming will be a big part of the first days of school, and it’s ok (as long the tears and screaming aren’t from you).
  6. Let your haters be your motivators; view your obstacles as challenges and opportunities to rise to a higher level.
  7. Make time for yourself and your family; your job is a part of your life, but only a part.
  8. Love the kids you work with; they are each someone’s child, and eventually, the next generation of world citizens.
  9. Use your sick and vacation days strategically. Even the best leaders needs a break.
  10. Don’t forget to have fun along the way; 190 days is a very short time for you, but it is the beginning of a lifetime for the students you will touch.

What suggestions do you have for new leaders?