What Every Principal Should Know

March 2017

Erin Akers, MEd


There are many pieces to the puzzle in our educational structure and the center-piece is the child. All outside pieces form to surround and support the center, fulfilling one purpose: best practice for the young child/student. As a former Elementary Principal, I was surprised to learn how much I relied on my early childhood background in making critical decisions. I realize now more than ever the importance my background in early childhood education afforded me in my role.  Dr. Arnold Gesell wrote a century ago, “The educational ladder of the American public school system is a tall one and a stout one, but it does not reach the ground.” One hundred years later, we are still grappling with the same issues, as many educational leaders still do not have adequate understanding of the importance of early childhood education.

In line with our mission, the Gesell Program in Early Childhood desires to come alongside not only those who work with our youngest learners, but also their leaders. Our hope is that this information will help to guide educational decisions and practices to benefit all early learners. In light of my experiences, I have compiled a list of what I believe teachers of young children want their leaders to know. I have walked both paths, and know that being informed and having open communication is the best scenario; for the principal, for the teacher, and for the children.

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