Preparing Assistant Principals for Success: A Summer Guide

by | Jun 15, 2023


As the school year draws to a close, new assistant principals eagerly anticipate their upcoming roles and responsibilities. The summer break provides an excellent opportunity for these individuals to prepare themselves for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.


In this article, we will explore the crucial steps assistant principals can take during the summer to ensure a smooth transition into their new position. Additionally, we will delve into the principal’s role in setting up their assistant principal for success, the resources they should consider, and the benefits of a structured approach to coaching and mentoring.


The Principal’s Role in Setting Up the Assistant Principal for Success:


Establishing Clear Expectations:

One of the principal’s primary responsibilities is to establish clear expectations for the assistant principal’s role. By clearly defining their duties, responsibilities, and goals, principals provide a foundation upon which the assistant principal can build their professional development plan. This includes understanding the school’s vision, culture, and specific initiatives.


Sharing Roles and Responsibilities:

Principals should provide the new assistant principal with a comprehensive breakdown of their roles and responsibilities. This includes overseeing curriculum development, student discipline, teacher evaluation, and fostering positive parent and community relationships. A detailed list ensures that the assistant principal understands their contribution to the overall school administration.


Checklist and Monthly Calendar for Assistant Principals:


Providing a Checklist:

Principals can offer new assistant principals a checklist that outlines essential tasks and deadlines to complete over the summer. This can include reviewing policies and procedures, analyzing student data, familiarizing themselves with the school’s systems, and connecting with key stakeholders. A checklist promotes organization and helps the assistant principal prioritize their time effectively.


Monthly Calendar:

A monthly calendar is another valuable tool for assistant principals. It provides a visual overview of important dates, meetings, and events. A well-structured calendar ensures that assistant principals allocate sufficient time for professional development, collaboration, and reflection throughout the summer.


Recommended Resources and Professional Development:


Reading Materials:

Assistant principals should invest time in reading relevant resources that enhance their knowledge and skills. These may include educational leadership books, research articles, and publications specific to their areas of focus. Recommended titles include “The Assistant Principal 50: Critical Questions for Meaningful Leadership and Professional Growth” by Baruti Kafele, “The Assistant Principal’s Handbook” by Gary Bloom and “The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact” by Michael Fullan


Professional Development Workshops:

Taking advantage of professional development workshops is crucial for assistant principals. These workshops provide opportunities to learn from experienced educators, gain new perspectives, and network with colleagues. Workshops on instructional leadership, data-driven decision-making, and building strong school communities are particularly beneficial.


Check-in Meetings, Coaching, and Mentoring:


Frequency and Expectations:

Check-in meetings between principals and assistant principals should be conducted regularly to ensure effective communication and support. The frequency can vary depending on the needs of the assistant principal and the workload of the principal, but bi-weekly or monthly meetings are generally recommended. These meetings provide a platform for discussing progress, addressing challenges, and setting goals.


Coaching and Mentoring:

Coaching and mentoring play a crucial role in the assistant principal’s professional growth. Principals should adopt a coaching approach that focuses on empowering the assistant principal to develop their leadership skills, make informed decisions, and overcome obstacles. Mentoring, on the other hand, involves sharing experiences and insights to guide the assistant principal through their new role.


Leadership Style to Support Assistant Principals:

The best leadership style to support assistant principals is one that balances guidance and autonomy. Principals should foster an environment of trust, collaboration, and open communication. They should empower assistant principals to make decisions and take ownership of their areas of responsibility while providing ongoing support and feedback. By promoting a positive leadership culture, principals cultivate an environment where assistant principals can thrive and contribute to the school’s success.



The summer break provides new assistant principals with a golden opportunity to prepare for their upcoming roles. With the guidance and support of principals, a checklist, a monthly calendar, recommended resources, and professional development opportunities, assistant principals can effectively transition into their new positions. When principals set clear expectations, provide opportunities for regular check-in meetings, and adopt a coaching and mentoring approach these core components ensure that their assistant principals are being set up for success.


Together, they can create a dynamic leadership team dedicated to providing the best possible education for their students.