Principals Month Is An Opportunity to Better Support Each Other

Steve Carlson's picture

As President of MASSP, I’m honored to wish a happy Principals Month to all of my Michigan Principal colleagues. The work of a Principal is complex and demanding and, at times, it can be very lonely. I’m grateful to know so many amazing building leaders across the state that rise to the challenges of this rewarding profession despite its inherent challenges. We do this because we know that our teachers, staff, and ultimately our students deserve the best leadership that we can muster. Without quality Principals to help craft and communicate vision, provide ongoing support and guidance, lead toward greater heights, and take on difficult challenges, our schools could not rise to the expectations our society demands for public education. To all my colleagues friends – I salute your dedication to and love for your students and staff.

Acknowledging all the challenges of the Principalship raises the question of how to support Principals. Your MASSP membership is your gateway to the support you need. Are you in need of some professional learning? MASSP has trainings on everything from Restorative Practices to Data Protocol 2.0 to HR Compliance. Do you need legal and legislative updates to help you keep up with an ever-changing landscape of requirements? MASSP has a variety ways to keep you informed and in compliance. Maybe you feel isolated in your job (especially if you are new to the profession)? Attending MASSP events is a sure-fire way to surround yourself with other educational leaders who, unlike anyone else in your school building, know EXACTLY what you are going through. The single best part of my MASSP experience has been the ability to network and expand my PLN. The wealth of ideas and resources you can get from fellow MASSP members is mind-boggling and, if you don’t already, you should seek to lean on the collective experiences of over 1,800 members.

Leading MASSP as its President this year is a humbling, yet rewarding challenge. Though Principals Month is about celebrating the Principal, I challenge members to use this month to do something for the profession. As educational leaders we are natural advocates for ourselves, our teachers, and most importantly, our students. Yet political advocacy remains a bridge many members have yet to cross. Please understand that small efforts from our membership can have an enormous impact on the legislative process as it relates to education. As an Association, MASSP would benefit from some form of a grass-roots network of Principals who are willing to engage their legislators. This engagement can take many forms. You may wish to invite a legislator to your school to showcase a successful program. Perhaps you take advantage of your Senator’s or Representative’s local “coffee hour” to ensure that some conversation about public education takes place. Best of all, perhaps you’d be willing to pick up your phone to call your legislators with regards to your input on a particular piece of legislation. With the lame-duck period coming up we could have several bills that would impact public education that may come to a vote. MASSP’s government relations team is mighty, but even they pale in comparison to the potential of our membership if we are get engaged on a local level.

In closing, I extend a huge thank you to the Principals across the state of Michigan for the tireless efforts you all undertake to provide the best possible education for your students and the best possible supports for your staffs. Never forget the impact that one caring educator can make in someone’s life and know that your true impact over the course of your career can never be measured. Keep doing what you do, let MASSP support you, and consider legislative advocacy as a way to give back to your fellow members, your staff, and your students.

Steve Carlson is the Principal at Sandusky Jr./Sr. High School and serves as the 2018-19 President of the MASSP Board of Directors. He is also the 2016 Michigan Principal of the Year. Connect with Steve at scarlson@sandusky.k12.mi.us or on Twitter @MrCarlsonSHS.