Celebrating School Principals: Now and All Year Long (Part 2)

In honor of National Principals Month, we’re elevating more principal voices and all the ways school leaders build thriving school cultures that enable teachers and students to shine.
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10/13/22
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Great school principals bring optimism, hope, and a fierce resolve to their leadership. You know what is possible for students, teachers, and families and you’re committed to achieving it. In honor of National Principals Month, we’re elevating more principal voices to celebrate just how vital your role is in our nation’s schools. (Read Part 1, too!)

This school year, many principals are intent on fostering a positive school culture and building learning environments that accelerate learning and advance equity and excellence. After navigating the challenges of the past few years, and the current staff shortages, it’s imperative to create the kind of conditions that engage all members of the school community into bringing your shared vision to life—and celebrating each other along the way. 

Hear from several current principals and New Leaders alumni who are doing the same in their schools. Each of them was recently featured in EdWeek’s Special Report, Effective Communication for School Leaders.


“Love is in the details,” explains Belicia Reaves, principal and New Leaders alum. Every year she asks her staff to complete a quick Google form with their favorite things. It’s one way she can personalize how she celebrates her staff all year long. From “silent appreciations” at staff meetings to special “Joy Days” that she creates to how she gives feedback to teachers, Reaves is determined to foster an inclusive school culture in which everyone is seen and honored. “How you say what you say matters,” she adds. 

Read the full article: Keep School Staff Motivated All Year Long: Advice from Principals, September 26, 2022


“Having that variety is huge for my teachers,” observes Sherelle Barnes, principal and New Leaders alum, on the various ways in which she communicates with her staff. Be it an email, group text, newsletter, in-person conversation. That kind of accessibility is just as important as consistency when it comes to school communication. Members of your school community likely have varying levels of comfort and needs regarding how information is shared. By meeting those needs, Barnes ensures her message is well-received by all. 

Read the full article: Ensure Your Staff Gets the Message: 3 Tips for School Leaders, September 26, 2022


“The administrative team can’t be everywhere at all times, but we can empower teacher leaders to empower morale,” offers LaDonna Braswell, principal and New Leaders alum. At her school, one member of each teacher team is designated to pay attention to levels of fatigue and then propose creative ways for the team to navigate through it. Braswell modeled this during the pandemic, giving her staff an hour of protected time to care for themselves in whatever way they needed. Leading through adversity can fuel resilience across the school, from the students to the principal.  

Read the full article: Keep School Staff Motivated All Year Long: Advice from Principals, September 26, 2022


Resilient school leaders have never been more important. You do more than just just bounce back. You bounce forward, seeing challenges as opportunities to learn and grow and then motivating your students and staff to do the same. As a leader, your beliefs and values shape how you interact with your school community, how you connect with your staff, how you cultivate your school’s culture. Personal leadership (described above) brings your values to life. Resilient leadership sustains you and everyone around you. 

This October, and all year long, we honor the importance of your leadership. We also work to advocate for policies that improve your overall well-being and that of your teachers, families, and children too. For all that you do, in big ways and small ways, to champion a quality education for every student, we thank you. #thankaprincipal

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