Principal Mentorship NAD Principals’ Handbook Excerpt
Who Can Be My Mentor?
Principals, particularly those who are new or in a new assignment, can benefit by entering into a mentoring relationship with an experienced educational leader. In collaboration with the conference superintendent of schools, identify quality and experienced principals who will be willing to work with you.
Not only is it important to build a relationship with an experienced school principal, but it is also important to build a team of local people who know your community and can help you navigate some of the challenges. (Helpful Hint: the first person in a new community to befriend you may or may not be the best mentor–be aware of confidentiality issues and hidden agendas!)
HOW CAN A MENTOR HELP?
A respected, experienced educational leader can be a mentor who will be particularly helpful as you:
Why Mentoring Is Important
By Carla Thrower | Principal—Takoma Academy
According to the Southern Regional Education Board, "Good Principals Aren't Born – They're Mentored".
Mentoring school leaders is vital for the longevity of the school. Investing in providing mentorship for school principals adds value to the school and the school system. It shows that support for the school administrator is important and esteemed. The faculty, staff, parents and students observe this value. A school leader, administrator, or principal does not walk into the school's door fully prepared to tackle the known and, most importantly, the unknown in the school building's confines and beyond without adequate support. A mentor can provide this support for the school leader.
While the novice school leader needs to have a mentor's guidance, it is equally necessary for the experienced school leader to have ongoing support. Mentorship programs can enhance the school's effectiveness while providing the school leader with encouragement, assistance, and the collaboration needed to maintain a strong school program.
An effective mentor relationship includes three components:
Transparency & Honesty: The school leader is seeking approval from their mentor; however, what is of utmost importance is that the school leader has opportunities for growth, constructive feedback, and strategies for success.
Time & Commitment: In building a school leader, time and commitment to the process are required. It is important to have designated time to meet with consistency and purpose. This dedicated time adds value to the mentorship process that can transfer to faculty and staff alike.
Reflection: The principal-mentor relationship should include ongoing opportunities to reflect on areas of success in the school and challenges that have arisen. In this way, areas for improvement are determined and prioritized. Faculty-staff relationships, program growth, and the overall well-being of the principal become a priority. When reflection is at the forefront of the principal-mentor relationship, the principal and mentor can determine areas of improvement and necessary adjustments.
Southern Regional Education Board 2007, Good Principals Aren't Born – They're Mentored, accessed 10 February 2021, https://www.sreb.org/publication/good-principals-arent-born-theyre-mentored.
Putting the Plan into Action
Adapted from the article written by
Anjuli Sastry and Andee Tagle
Imagine this: Someone you admire sets aside time to meet, sharing how they accomplished their goals, cheering you on, and giving you feedback and advice. That is what we call a mentor.
The right mentoring relationship can be a powerful tool for professional growth and even a better work-life balance.
One of the trickiest things about mentoring is that it is often informal, making it difficult to find an entry point. Here is how to find a good mentor, make the ask, and make it work.
Finding the Right Mentor
Why is mentoring aspiring school leaders important?
Mentoring school leaders is vital in continuing bridges of leadership. When approached correctly, it encourages collaboration, innovation, and best practices.
All leaders need a supportive community of like-minded individuals to foster and cultivate their leadership skills. School administration is a position that can benefit from mentorship. School leaders have the tremendous task of creating a culture that determines the success of their school. This role can be a lonely position. The responsibility of a school administration is demanding. As a school leader, you are concerned about the needs of your students, parents, faculty, staff, and stakeholders.
Throughout the Bible, we have seen how mentorship has developed great leaders like David, Elisha, Esther. Proverbs 27:17 states that "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." School leaders need mentors who will challenge, inspire, and motivate them to be effective and competent leaders.
When choosing a mentor, there are some key factors to look for in an individual:
Jerson Malaguit | Principal—Beltsville Adventist School
What does an effective mentoring process look like?
Effective mentoring has goals, objectives, accountability, and a commitment to confidentiality and honesty between the coach and coachee.
Do you recommend that all school administrators seek a mentor?
Making the Ask
Tips on Being a Good Mentor
NPR 2020, The Right Mentor Can Change Your Career. Here's How to Find One, accessed 10 February 2021, https://www.npr.org/2019/10/25/773158390/how-to-find-a-mentor-and-make-it-work
A mentor is not someone who walks ahead of us to show us how they did it.
A mentor walks alongside us to show us what we can do.
by Simon Sinek