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Poll: What Do You Look for in a New Principal?

Interviews beginning for new Watchung Hills principal—but what strengths do you want to see in the new administrator?

With less than two months to go before , school board members are starting to conduct interviews with potential replacements.

Not that a "replacement" is likely to be found: whomever is hired, they will surely bring different skills to the job than Dr. DiGanci exhibits. After all, they most likely will not have his extensive history at the school, or his knowledge of the school's growing pains and growing list of achievements. 

School principals have to operate at many levels to be successful: they have to be able to relate to students like a teacher or counselor; manage a huge staff like a corporate HR administrator; deal with the board of education like a skilled politician; and deal with parents like a neighbor. It's a tough job when done well—and not all are well-suited for the work.

So what skills do you think are most important?

The board is sorting through about 37 applicants for the position, Superintendent of Schools Frances Stromsland reported last month, and many of the candidates likely have extensive experience in school leadership.

Would you prefer the district hire a "technocrat" or someone more adept at working with students? Should the district seek a visionary or a stabilizing force?

Take our poll and tell us what you think.  

Susan Tucker May 01, 2012 at 12:04 PM
I don't envy the person who has to step into Tom DiGanci's shoes. His commitment to WHRHS is incredible - when I've arrived at 5:30 a.m. to prep for a teacher's breakfast, guess who opened the door? He responds to the needs of each individual remarkably and conveys the feeling that he has nothing else to do but give attention to your concern. I think in seeking a replacement, a new principal's personal skills are more important than adminstrative skills - in this position interaction with the students is so important to the tone of the whole school - and a firm commitment to keeping the academic performance level high is necessary to maintaining the reputation of our school systems and therefore our property values!

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