What does a Principal do?What does a Principal do?

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

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Elementary, middle, and high school principals work year round in private and public schools managing school operations and day to day school activities. They oversee school staff and teachers, coordinate curricula, and ensure students have a safe and productive environment with which to learn.

Principals counsel students, set up academic goals, and implement standards and programs set by the school district, state, and/or federal regulations. Elementary, middle, and high school principals serve as the public face of their school.

How to become a Principal

An elementary, middle, and high school principal typically needs several years of work experience as a teacher and have a bachelor's degree in education, school counseling, or a related field before entering the required master's degree program in education, leadership, or education administration.

The master's degree programs prepare one to work with parents and the community, manage teachers and staff, set goals, and prepare and manage budgets. Most states require public school principals to be licensed as school administrators and although requirements vary by state, most require a master's degree and usually require a principal to pass a background check and pass an exam.

Principals working in private schools are not required to have a state-issued license.

Job Description of a Principal

Elementary, middle, and high school principals manage all school operations and day to day school activities. They oversee teachers and other staff and class schedules. They develop and implement curriculum standards set by the school district, state, and/or federal regulations. They ensure the teachers have the necessary resources and equipment to reach the school's academic goals.

The principal councils and disciplines students and assist teachers in managing the student's behavior. They meet with parents and teachers to discuss the student's behavior and progress and address concerns of parents and community members. He or she organizes professional development programs and workshops for staff and observe teachers and classroom activities.

A principal has the responsibility of managing the school's budget, ordering school supplies, and arranging maintenance schedules. They must ensure proper school security and procedures for teachers, students, staff, and visitors. Because principals are the public face of the school, they must meet with superintendents, legislators, and community members to explain or request school funding.