Elementary school principals: how to choose the right principal?

Another in the series of public debates took place on 8 February 2022 and was entitled: Primary school principals: how to choose the right principal?, It focused on the complications that the statutory authorities have to deal with when choosing a new principal. These complications include the low number of applicants, an insufficiently specified career order and the lack of preparedness of the candidates for the given role. There is also often a lack of expertise on the side of the statutory authorities who select the school principles. 

According to Jiří Nantl, Deputy Governor of the South Moravian Region for Education and Smart Region Strategy, the principal should not only be a pedagogical leader, but also an institutional leader. Thus, the statutory authorities have to think about what they want to change at the school before the official announcement of the tender and communicate their visions in the advertisement so that the winner can move the school forward.

“A good school is always fundamentally linked to the personality of its principal. In reality, however, principals do a job that is usually split between several people in the commercial sector. We therefore need to pay considerable attention to the preparation of the pedagogical personalities before they take up the post of principal and have to pay attention to the professional development of principals and support them throughout their function. Without high-quality principals who will be professionally prepared, appropriately supported and adequately evaluated, we will not be able to develop the quality of education” says Ondřej Andrys, Deputy Central School Inspector of CSI.

Markéta Bajerová confirms, from her own experience, that a principal is not born, but is made. Not everyone wants to become a principal even if they have the prerequisites. There can be many reasons. “The first thing that comes to mind is the reluctance to deal with areas other than professional and pedagogic ones, fear of the number of changes and their implementation, fear of failure, for example, as a leader, colleague, teacher and manager.”

Oldřich Vávra, mayor of the village of Tupesy, thinks that the selection of a suitable principal is an important matter for every statutory authority. The statutory authority should communicate the requirements clearly in order to ensure a sufficient number of interesting candidates for this position.

Pavel Škramlík, principal of the secondary school SSZŠ Litvínov and co-creator of the Model of School Management Support System, concluded the discussion by stating that the role of the school principal, although lonely and demanding, is meaningful. He believes that the job of a school principal is a great one, as he or she has the chance to actually support every child in the school he or she leads.

The debate was opened and moderated by Tomáš Feřtek, an EDUin expert consultant.

You can watch a recording of the debate on our YouTube channel.

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