Back to School Strategies for School Leaders

August 22, 2022

By Nick Kovalcik & Danielle Miller

It is essential to stay current on cutting-edge techniques, technology, legal and regulatory disputes, and social or economic trends that have an impact on schools because school leadership is a demanding position. Too frequently, the obligations of the job leave little time for you to invest in your professional development. Most school leaders are connected generalists who interact with people (students, teachers, employees, and families) (curriculum, instruction, assessment, school activities, school safety, and family involvement). This means that a leader needs to be aware of new and developing trends and willing to let go of old routines and viewpoints. For school leaders, perhaps nothing is more crucial than appreciating our learning. One of the few times a year when principals have fewer obligations, a less scheduled day, and more time for professional development is during the summer. 

How can we strike a balance between the demands of school life daily and the requirement to advance as leaders continually?

Display Intellectual Curiosity

While school leaders cannot predict the future, it is possible to foresee trends and problems that may impact your institution. The summer is a fantastic time to read widely and learn about innovative teaching strategies, leadership in a wide range of contexts, or social and economic trends that could impact the “business of school.” 

Principals advised reading books on education while broadening your reading collection to include books you might not have time to read during the school year. Try something different or read about prosperous people in business for inspiration.

Nearly all principals place a high value on sharing what they read with others. That is crucial because these discussions offer a chance to question one another’s viewpoints and to spark in-depth, insightful discussion of relevant topics. An excellent approach to start these conversations is through simulations. They offer pertinent examples of situations in which a leader might view things differently. In contrast, simulations take far less time to finish than books, and the chance to have these conversations last a while.

Activate Your Individual Learning Network

You can also reactivate or expand your networks with friends and coworkers in the summer. Leaders have long had “networks” of connections and allies who helped them in their endeavors. A virtual network might increase your access to knowledge, people in similar circumstances, and renowned authorities in your industry.

Between educators and students who use simulations, a vast network has developed. In schools all around the country, simulations are a hot topic. When school leaders go through the same simulation, they talk about their experiences that might be connected to what they went through. Some experiences may be the same as their peers; however, their differences allow leaders to reflect and connect with others about their decisions and why. A vast network of safe spaces for educators to discuss sensitive subjects has been created through simulations.

Take Care of Work-Life Balance

Many people struggle to balance their personal and professional obligations, particularly school leaders. Due to the complexity of the position, the lengthened school day, and the high expectations of teachers, senior district administration, families, and the community, principals find their jobs challenging. 

Stress increases by the notion that school leaders are accessible at all times and on all days of the week. Separating your life into several halves is not maintaining balance in the best meaning of the word. It is important to be suitably engaged with what you are doing at any given time.

According to school leaders, various tactics were valid in achieving the right work-life balance. They advise you to begin by reflecting on your habits and ambitions. Our actions are shaped by our values and beliefs, which also affect our unique collection of life experiences. Here are some ideas for determining your current situation and your ideal position. 

Start by defining “better balance” for yourself and considering your values. One way to achieve balance, or at least comprehend why you do not have it, is to be clear about your values. Stress and the disruption of the balance we seek might result from a conflict in values.

Acquire New Skills or Endeavors

The focus of this post has been learning how summertime presents opportunities for in-depth reading, reviving your network of contacts, and striking a balance between your personal and professional responsibilities. 

Every expert on keeping current and reviving one’s passion for learning that we have spoken with emphasizes the importance of learning something new. Make a list of the things you have always wanted to do or the things you wish you knew how to do in the time you have available. Set the list’s priorities.

It can be a stimulus for achieving everything we described before, including being intellectually curious, interacting with others, finding work-life balance, and seeing oneself as a constant learner, not just in school but throughout life.

Final Thoughts

The summer between school is a valuable opportunity to rekindle your love of study, spend time with family and friends, and revitalize your spirit for the upcoming school year. These tactics can assist you in concentrating your efforts before the start of a new academic year and keep you on track to developing into a highly successful leader. 

Simulations are a fantastic tool for learning and integrating into professional development and higher education curriculum because of their realistic circumstances. Simulated experiences offer artificial expertise in a secure environment. You can learn the rationale behind your peers’ choices and discuss the results. Simulations help you create and build upon your experience portfolio and, in turn, quicken the process of developing into a great school leader.

MiddleWeb. “Four Summer Strategies for School Leaders.” MiddleWeb, 16 Sept. 2020,