The Portable Mentor

Modules 1-3

Module 1: Which Way is North?


Why should you possess a definition of a principalship?


Your personal definition of the principal's role is crucial to your performance as the school leader.

If you do not define the job, the job will define you.

You must balance the real with the ideal, integrating the realities of your job (that are shaped by the people with whom and for whom you work), with your personal beliefs on your role as a school leader.


What determines your leadership qualities?

Your heart? Your head? Your hand?


"The heart shapes the head, which in turns drives the hand" (Sergiovanni)


What you value and believe influences your perspective of how the world works, and that drives your decisions, actions, and behaviors.


Your definition helps you stay on course. It serves as your compass; it provides direction.

...It reminds you "which way is north and reminds you why you wanted to become a principal.

Module 2: "How Do You Organize the Contents of Your Garage?"

Like organizing a garage, the same can be true about organizing and conceptualizing the various roles and responsibilities of a principal.


Creating a mental map of the principalship is essential because it will not only help to define the job, it will also define who you become as an administrator.


Possessing a "big picture" of the job can help you stay focused on broad-based, educationally sound priorities.


Without such a focus, the pressures or forces from particular areas can be so great that you can lose perspective.


Where are your priorities? Under what categories do the required, most time consuming tasks fit? How will you balance your time?


Module 3: "Will These Six Standards Work for You?"

Standard 1

An educational leader promotes the success of every student by facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a vision of learning that is shared and supported by all stakeholders.


Standard 2

An educational leader promotes the success of every student by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth.


Standard 3

An educational leader promotes the success of every student by ensuring management of organization, operation, and resources for a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment.


Standard 4

An educational leader promotes the success of every student by collaborating with faculty and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources.


Standard 5

An educational leader promotes the success of every student by acting with integrity [and] fairness and in an ethical manner.

Standard 6

An educational leader promotes the success of every student by understanding, responding to, and influencing the political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context.


Make these standards work for you. They encompass the basic tasks of the school principal, providing an authentic big picture perspective on the role of an administrator.

Use these standards when developing your own definition of a principalship and when you are prioritizing the many roles of a successful administrator.