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Dawn Imada Chan
Congratulations! You survived the grueling application and interview process, signed your contract, and can’t wait to take on your first year as a school administrator. Here are some tips to make the transition a productive one and sure to set you off on the path to success.
Your first priority as a transitioning administrator is to start to build the foundation for strong relationships. The following suggestions can help you connect and start building those relationships:
Everyone likes to be acknowledged by their name and this will give you plenty of practice.
This is a perfect opportunity to share who you are professionally and personally, your school leadership philosophy, as well as any other relevant information that is appropriate for your school. If possible, try to create several different versions of your letter tailored to the needs of the receiving audience. You might also consider incorporating a survey that will help you get to know the school community from their representative perspective.
Your intent in these meetings is to listen and learn. Be prepared with an open-ended question or two, otherwise, give space to these individuals to share, so you can learn about them and how they view their school. Listed below are the suggested individuals you should consider meeting with:
As an administrator, your responsibility and influence will expand across the school and requires that you have the appropriate "big picture" and pulse of the school.
Administration is a challenging role. Make sure you have plenty of personal and professional support on your side.
Lastly, there may be times in your journey where you have doubts about your ability to fulfill the role. Never forget that the elements that made you a fantastic classroom teacher will serve you well as an administrator.
Dawn Imada Chan is an education consultant and graduate student in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and a 2012 ASCD Emerging Leader.
Pathfinder is a career article series brought to you by ASCD.
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