In providing training to school administrators throughout the country, administrator empowerment is the most significant area for potential growth. Administrators have an abundance of knowledge, but some school administrators find themselves stifled without empowerment tools. Empower school administrators to lead.

This list of Top 10 Empowerment Tools will provide your school administrators with the capacity to excel in leadership.

  1. We Have Always Done It That Way
    My response to that statement is generally, “That is lovely, but what does the law or school district policy say?”. School administrators must be empowered to Get Back to Basics. The question they must ask is, “What does the law say and what is best for students.” We have always done it this way is not a valid argument, period.
  2. The State Constitution Gives Me Authority
    The State Constitution authorizes school districts to establish and maintain policies and procedures to ensure public schools’ safety and security. Administrators make decisions daily to ensure the safety and security of the school. Empower your administrators with an understanding of the law and tools to explain their decision.
  3. Do You Really Want to Say No Comment?
    Every attorney will tell that FERPA prevents school districts from responding to allegations regarding specific students or incidents. You have also heard that you are a public official, and the school is a public entity, and therefore you cannot do much about slanderous comments. What if you could?  Have you ever considered empowering your school administrators with the authority to respond to a media request for comment with a request that the media source provides a signed authorization to release FEPRA or confidential employee information rather than saying no comment? If you have not sought current legal guidance and updated your procedures for media and social media responses, your administrators may be tied to 20th-century guidelines in a 21st-century world.
  4. You May Be A Cowboy or Cowgirl, But We Do Not Shoot From The Hip
    School administrators are not expected to know all the answers. When we shoot from the hip, we often shoot ourselves in the foot. Empower administrators with permission to find out. Teach them how to respond to a request from parents, employees, community members, advocates, and other administrators when they don’t readily know the answer.
  5. Fear Is Not A Rational Motivator
    If the answer you receive from an administrator is “because I did not want to…” your administrator is motivated by fear. Fear-based decision-making prevents administrators from Getting Back to Basics and asking the question, “What does the law say and what is best for students?”
  6. Advocating For Your Teachers and Programs
    Did you know that students succeed at far higher rates in public schools? Do your administrators know this fact? Despite media stories to the contrary, public schools are excelling in providing education to America’s children. Empower administrators to advocate for your programs and teachers. You offer a superior educational experience for children, and we do public education a disservice when we do not advocate for our teachers and programs.
  7. Master of Communication
    The reality is that people get nervous when they do not understand what is going on. The other reality is not every administrator is a master communicator. Nervous employees, board members, parents, and other administrators make fear-based decisions when they do not understand what is going on. Empower your administrators with the tools to become master communicators.
  8. Departmentalized Is Of No Consequence
    The answer “I didn’t because that is not my department” is the wrong answer. This often comes up with Section 504 and IDEA Special Education. Empower administrators with the authority to work with other departments to meet the needs of students.
  9. This Is Our House
    If I have been to one of your campuses, your team has likely heard me explain, “this is our house.” As the head of your house, you would not allow someone to come into your home and use profanity, destroy property, or jeopardize the safety and security of your environment. Empower school administrators with tools such as Geneva’s Guidance Civility Statement to ensure that campus visitors and employees respect the educational environment.
  10. Ignoring A Problem Does Not Make It Go Away
    Years ago, I was asked to conduct a campus observation of a high school English teacher. As I walked into the room, the teacher had his feet up on the desk and read a newspaper. We all remember the controversial movie Waiting For Superman. While these situations may be few and far between, empower administrators to take action when there is a problem. We are Getting Back to Basics with employee issues as well. The question is the same “What does the law say and what is best for students?”

Remember that leading a classroom and leading a campus or department is not always a natural transition. Empowering administrators with knowledgeable and practical advice is the foundation for success. Please give them the language and tools they need to succeed because that is what the law says, and that is what is best for students.

Superintendents and administrators are tirelessly working to create a positive future for children. I have made it my mission and vision to train, support, and speak to administrators to provide them with an easy format on how to effectively be trained on the above topics. I will be sending bi-weekly newsletters every Wednesday covering each of the above topics at a deeper level. Please stay subscribed to Geneva’s Guidance to learn more.

All the best,

Geneva Jones-Taylor
Founder, Geneva’s Guidance