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Explore the top 10 things administrators should know when transitioning from assistant principal to principal.

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Top Ten

Things They

Didn't Tell Us:

A Guide

to Transitioning


Assistant Principal



Meet the Authors


 Who am I?

  • Build a name for yourself now

  • It starts with the interview

  • Be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses going in 

  • Communication! Have a plan to sell yourself


Who orders the toilet paper?

  • While you have fresh eyes, do an honest assessment. What does the learning environment look like?

  • What are your biggest facility needs?

  • What does the school take care of vs. maintenance?

  • Who does what?

  • What are the procedures for your school?

It’s all important! 

  • Must prioritize

  • Keep students at the center!

  • Scenario:
  • Your school starts at 8:00 am. It is now 8:15. You are the only administrator on campus. These are currently the issues on your plate. With your group, determine how you are going to survive the next 45 minutes.

Click for Padlet

  • Who is writing the checks?

  • Title I vs. Operational vs. Instructional vs. Athletics vs. Tutoring vs. School Funds 

  • Ask lots of questions

  • Look at past expenditures



Click for answers to activity

  • A plan is… your vision...what you want it to look you are going to get there!

  • You need to know what you think makes a good school

  • Assess what you need to do to get there.

  • Dig into the data

    • Find the strengths

    • Find opportunities for growth

    • Find the stakeholders that can help

What’s the plan?

Your “To Do” List

will NEVER get done!

  • Task-oriented jobs are no longer your main focus


  • Find stengths in others





Celebrate Successes!

  • Good as Gold Awards

  • Paws of Praise

  • Celebrate Students Too!
  • Curriculum

  • Testing (KEA, mClass, NCFE, RtA, ACT, EOG, OH MY!)

  • Policies

  • Discipline

  • Quality colleagues

  • Visit other schools

  • Don’t stop asking questions 

  • All transitions will be different


Research Other Levels

Click for Kahoot!

But don’t forget....

Your district leaders want you to be successful

  • Use them as a resource

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions


“If you’re going to lead, LEAD!”

You are IT! Period.

Linda Cliatt-Wayman

"How to fix a broken school?  Lead fearlessly, love hard"


Click HERE for entire TED Talk



ALWAYS wear a fanny pack!

  • Have good people around you that make you laugh! (We didn't realize just how important that was!)


  • Put something in that fanny pack for YOU!!  


Just like we tell teachers and staff… you MUST MUST MUST find something outside of the job for you to spend your time, energy, and brain power on!




Kristine Mitchell

London Elementary School


Johnna Cheek

South Stokes High School