Supporting student success is the central motivation behind a career in education. The K-12 stage, in particular, holds an important place in an individual’s experience of formal education, making the work of educators devoted to these young learners especially important. To prepare educators for leadership success, Eastern Michigan University offers a fully online Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program. This convenient degree program helps educators become effective in assistant principal (or “vice-principal”) positions.
An advanced education degree in educational leadership will both give professionals the tools to better serve school communities and aid professionals in career advancement. Becoming an assistant principal is an important step in higher-level administrative career pathways in K-12 education.
By taking on various roles as an assistant principal, educators can expand the positive impact they have on student success and learning. Here are a few ways assistant principals can help improve schools through the many roles and duties the position may entail:
Share in and Improve School Leadership Activities
The traditional role of the assistant principal has often consisted of a narrow set of administrative tasks like budgeting, scheduling and discipline. However, a report on assistant principalship by the Wallace Foundation focuses on the increasing shift toward distributed leadership models in schools. In fact, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) stresses the importance of a shared decision-making approach in modern educational leadership.
Assistant principals who take on and delegate leadership activities alleviate the workload and responsibilities of the lead principal. This contribution can help lower levels of principal burnout, improving retention and continuity in school leadership.
Plus, the assistant principal job prepares educators to advance into lead principal positions. NASSP highlights how shared decision-making approaches facilitate the leadership development needed for this transition. Indeed, many of the following ways assistant principals can impact student success stem from the shift toward distributed leadership and shared decision-making.
Promote Equity and a Positive School Culture of Continuous Improvement
Distributed leadership models can engender more diversity in the backgrounds, skill sets, ideas and knowledge of a school’s leadership team. This approach supports the collaboration and creativity necessary to drive continuous, equitable improvement in schools, including the student and staff experience.
Assistant principals are instrumental to this outcome on several levels. The Wallace Foundation’s report notes that the modernized assistant principal role “can contribute to a more equitable pathway to the principalship” and that “assistant principals are uniquely positioned to promote equitable outcomes for students.”
Assistant principals can support such outcomes by helping engender a positive school culture. A ThoughtCo article highlights the empathetic, motivational leadership aspects assistant principals can bring to their role. Through understanding, engaging, respecting and valuing teachers, assistant principals can foster a supportive culture driven by continuous improvement.
Eastern Michigan University’s M.A. in Educational Leadership online program reflects this dynamic approach to the assistant principal’s role. Coursework focuses on subjects like leadership for school improvement and educational leadership in a pluralistic society. These and other areas of study emphasize the intersection between the assistant principalship and continuous school improvement.
Support Technology at Multiple Levels
Technology is rapidly changing modern education. There is a vast expanse of educational technologies developed for teaching and learning, facilitating administrative tasks and informing school improvement efforts. With competencies in all these areas, assistant principals can become technology leaders in their schools, supporting numerous positive outcomes.
For instance, NASSP highlights the importance of using data for decision-making in schools. Assistant principals can use the insight gained from data analysis to inform C&I and assessment design. They can also help teachers and colleagues use data analytics tools to assess, differentiate and improve instructional practices based on real-time, evolving evidence.
Additionally, management information systems can help assistant principals analyze and improve school operations, budgeting and resource management. Integrating technologies into teachers’ reporting and classroom management practices can save valuable time. Selecting and incorporating appropriate educational technologies is essential for helping students succeed in the 21st century.
The assistant principal will take on many roles in today’s complex educational environment. This flexibility may demand more preparation, development and education. Still, it also allows assistant principals to increase their impact on student success and play a key role in transforming education.