Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 29

BY JENNIFER FINK

T

ransitioning a third-grade
teacher from the classroom
to physical education was
one of the most strategic
moves Emily Miles has made
as a principal.
The teacher, Miles says, was great
at building relationships with students,
but not as effective as other teachers in
helping students meet academic benchmarks. The teacher was also a certified
yoga instructor with a deep personal
interest in health and fitness. Miles asked
her if she would consider teaching physical education.
When she was principal at Montclaire
Elementary School, one of the CharlotteMecklenburg Schools in North Carolina,
Miles lacked an effective PE teacher.
(Miles is currently principal at Sterling
Elementary School, another school in
the district.) "So, I pitched it to her," she
says of her conversation with the thirdgrade teacher. "I told her she could use
her experience as a classroom teacher
to really bring academics into PE. She
ended up taking the exam she needed
to be a PE teacher, and now she's one of

the best PE teachers I've ever seen."
According to The Wallace
Foundation's 2013 report The School
Principal as Leader: Guiding Schools to
Better Teaching and Learning, effective
principals consistently implement five
key practices. Miles' teacher transition
is a good illustration of key practice
No. 5: Principals manage people, data,
and processes with the goal of school
improvement. In essence, good principals orchestrate leadership.
Much as orchestra conductors select,
organize, and train the best instrumentalists with consideration as to how
each individual's skills complement
those of the others, principals manage
and educate school staff, making sure
that the right people are filling the right
roles. Conductors choose music based
on the interests and skills of the orchestra, with an ear toward the needs of the
orchestra's patrons-just as principals
prioritize educational initiatives and processes based on the talents and needs
of the school community. Conductors
do what they can to ensure that the
orchestra collectively has what it needs

to succeed; principals do the same for
their schools.
And just as a conductor stands in front
of an orchestra, directing the group in
real time-a wave of the arm requesting
more sound from the horns at one point
or calling on the percussion to speed up
or slow down-principals are constantly
listening and readjusting. Like conductors, principals use their expertise to
recognize areas that need improvement,
and they clearly communicate their
vision to all members of their team.
Here's what that looks like in practice.

Managing People
"When I hire people, I'm not only looking
for skill, because if you're lacking
skills, I can coach you through that,"
says Carmen ConcepciĆ³n, principal
of Oaklawn Language Academy in
Charlotte, North Carolina. "I'm looking
for the dynamic of the person. A
positive outlook. Someone who is
very hardworking."
As a Spanish immersion magnet
school, Oaklawn recruits teachers
from around the world. Approximately

naesp.org

29


http://www.naesp.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018

Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - Cover1
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - Cover2
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 1
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 2
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 3
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 4
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 5
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Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 12
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 13
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Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 15
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 16
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 17
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 18
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Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 20
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 21
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 22
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 23
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 24
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 25
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 26
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 27
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 28
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 29
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 30
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 31
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - 32
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - Cover3
Principal - Wallace Supplement - May/June 2018 - Cover4
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