Librarians, you cannot afford to have an adversarial relationship with your principal. You cannot even afford a principal who is an “agent of benevolent neglect.” You need an administrator who actively supports you and your program.

Your principal needs you as well—as a cheerleader and co-conspirator for change efforts. As a staff development resource for new programs. As an educator who can positively affect the learning environment of the whole school. As a researcher for best practices information. How exactly does your principal rely on you? Are you important enough to be listened to?

Principals and librarians need to be firm allies in helping their schools change in positive ways.

And it will be up to you, not your principal, to create this alliance. Here are some concrete ways you can do so.

7 tips for making your principal your ally #k12

1. Report regularly and formally.
We should all be sending out a written (emailed) quarterly principal’s report and a monthly faculty bulletin. These should be upbeat, useful, and short. Every newsletter that goes to parents needs a library column that includes digital photos of happy library-using kids. Administrators hate surprises—good and bad.

2. Know you principal’s goals and interests.
Can you rattle off the three or four things your principal considers important in your school? Test scores? Climate? Meaningful technology use? For what is your principal being held accountable by his or her boss? Where do your services and your principal’s goals overlap?

About the Author:

Doug Johnson is the director of technology for the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage (MN) Public Schools. His teaching experience has included work in grades K-12. He is the author of nine books, columns in Educational Leadership and Library Media Connection, the Blue Skunk Blog, and articles published in over 40 books and periodicals. Johnson has worked with over 200 organizations around the world and has held leadership positions in state and national organizations, including ISTE and AASL.


Add your opinion to the discussion.