During a conversation with some late 20 and 30 somethings, I was interested to find that they had switched jobs at least 3-5 times after their college careers.
“The boss was out of touch. The hours were not what I expected. I found it too far of a commute.” My favorite one: “I felt like I was in a rut and wanted something different. It would be so much better if I WAS the boss.”
Think about that for a moment.
Surely, those gainfully employed, administrator-ladder-climbers have felt the same frustration.
Isn’t that what leads young teachers to want to be at the helm?
To go and get that Ed Leadership degree?
Isn’t it their primary wish to make a difference in the frustration levels of teachers?
But what happens when the principal or superintendent begins to feel the pressure?
Many open spots have been filled by educators with less than 10 years in the classroom. Still wet behind the ears, they may have a mentor but when push comes to shove, where are they supposed to turn?
It is no wonder that the crumbling of our public schools has started at the top level spots.
Would it be easier to be scrutinized in a board room of 10 over a community of 10,000? Wouldn’t it be easier to declare business or an MBA as a goal for principals and leaders to be?
Those who are in today’s leadership seats have had little or no preparation (unless you count on line modules as professional development training) to navigate the multi-faceted world of running a school. The handful of qualified superintendents and principals is toeing the line of retirement. Many of them putting off the “golden years” to manage and lead. After all, many of them know that when they cast their lot into the education arena, it would become their life long career. Not so much the Millennial or Gen Xers.
Just like classroom teachers, administration jobs are also taking a hit. Newspaper articles talk of superintendent searches and squeeze 1 or 2 to the finalist level. Many times, to go back out and search again. Unless, they make the blind stab and end up with someone worse than an interim.
There just aren’t a bunch of willing participants to take the onus for communities that look to them as keeping a stellar image of schools or breathing new life into the stagnant ones.Their skills are expected to be super human.
So, where are these under 35 leaders going once they find education to be too stressful?
They are leaving or not even trying to launch.
According to an “EdSource” article from 2007 :”Superintendents provide a crucial link between the community and the district’s schools...must balance the desires of the community taxpayers, parents, and staff while keeping the goal of providing quality education …inspiring staff…
Okay. That article is over 12 years old.
In the 2019 article from ThoughtCo., Derrick Meador writes: “The superintendent is essentially the face of the district. They are responsible for the successes and most assuredly responsible when there are failures….the decisions they make can be especially difficult and taxing. It takes an exceptional person with a unique skill set to be an effective school superintendent.”
In order to have an exceptional school system, it must come from the TOP DOWN. There is little to gain in becoming a principal or superintendent if you aren't aware of ALL these jobs entail. You will fail.
To be honest, if your heart and head is not in it, you would likely do a better job as a bus driver. Start there. That’s where the real personal growth is. Consider it an internship,
Thanks for listening.