High school principals are responsible for every aspect of school administration.
They are in control of budgeting, maintenance, personnel relations, faculty
and staff supervision, records management, student supervision and placement.
"You do everything in terms of running the school, from creating budgets
to ordering textbooks, right down to attending concerts and plays," says principal
Student welfare and development are the primary concerns of school administrators.
The principal's main priority is to promote student development, says Timothy
Dyer, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals
High school principal Doris Alvarez maintains a safe learning environment
for about 1,900 minority students in San Diego. "The challenge is to change
the mindset of what a school is," she says.
To Alvarez, schools need to be small so relationships can develop among
students, teachers and staff. "Kids need to know there are significant people
who care for them. That's a challenge because it isn't the way people look
at high school."
The job requires time and energy. It's not unusual for a school administrator
to work 70 to 80 hours a week.
The activities range from dealing with contracts for a computer lab to
dealing with child abuse to deciding on a new reading curriculum.
"It's a frenetic pace, and not just among activities, but people as well,"
says Paul Hersey, director of professional assistance at NASSP. "Research
shows administrators have 400 separate interactions per day with staff, students
Shave agrees. "You have to be really, really flexible. You have to be able
to get along with all kinds of people, and juggle many different things at
once. If you can't handle this then this isn't the job for you."