School’s out: The summer of a school principal


Most schools have ended the school year and many graduations have happened. Kids have begun summer camps, summer school, and sleeping in. Many teachers have kicked off summer travel and the process of winding down from a long school year. As a school principal, I often get asked what do you do all summer? When the school year ends and teachers and students are gone, the work of a school principal continues through the entire summer.

We Hire

During the summer, the priority of a school principal is to find and hire the right teachers for their students. This task has become very difficult given the teacher shortage that is impacting schools all over the country. As a school leader, if you are hired in June, it is considered late!

The recruiting and hiring process usually begins in March and you hope to complete hiring before the summer begins. Principals must be creative in finding qualified candidates that can not only teach students but meet the needs of the school community. Hiring math and science teachers can be extremely challenging given the limited number of qualified candidates.

In the past school principals would see 8-10 applicants for an open position, now we are lucky to get 2-3 applicants. Parents should understand and should not be surprised when the school year begins, their student may not have a teacher in front of them.

We Plan

There’s a lot of planning that takes place during the summer for school districts and school principals. I began planning for the 2024-25 school year in January. The initial planning is centered around the school calendar of events, that includes fine arts, athletics, back-to-school events, graduations and extracurricular activities.

This is the information we want to get out to parents ASAP to help them stay organized for the upcoming year. There are a lot of moving parts when planning out an entire school year and requires the help of secretaries, administrators, athletic directors and district leaders, all who work over the summer.

A second large part of our planning involves how do we improve our schools and teaching staff through professional development. Education is constantly changing, and it is important that schools keep up with new laws and new ways of learning. Social Emotional Learning, AI in the classroom, culturally responsive practices and differentiated instruction are just a few areas school principals must be mindful of to remain current.

How students learned in the 90s is vastly different in 2024, and schools must equip their staff with the right tools. As a principal, I attend workshops such as Indiana Black Expo’s Education Conference to learn from other school leaders on best practices in leadership, student and staff motivation and other important strategies to lead a school.

The summertime is also the opportunity where school leaders participate in book studies and have the time to devote to personal growth with other school leaders. I am currently reading “The Anxious Generation,” a book focusing on the mental health of children.

We Meet

Administrators have a lot of meetings during the school year and during summer break. I meet with new parents to ease some of their anxieties as they will have new students at my school. These types of meetings are helpful during the summer to help families begin to feel at ease entering a new environment.

Principals meet with other district and local administrators to discuss things we see within the Indianapolis community as a whole and how we can support one another. The problems that happen in private, charter, and public schools are similar, and it is important for school leaders to discuss them and problem solve while we have the time.

When school is out, your kids’ principal is in. Our goal is to build on the previous year’s success and grow as a school community. The meetings and planning do not stop even when the school year begins. The next time you see a school principal please tell them to enjoy the summer and get some rest, because they deserve it.