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By Paul Losch

Principals In PAUSD

Uploaded: Jun 20, 2013

PALY has lost a principal of three years due to unfortunate personal circumstances. Terman is getting a new one due to the incumbent moving to the District office. That's the news this year. So far.

I was on the shuttle the Toyota dealership provides to pick up my car after routine service. The other passenger, a dad with kids in PAUSD schools and I got to talking, and we both more or less fell into the observation that turnover in PAUSD principals seems to be quite high.

My now grown kids went to Jordan, and I cannot remember how many times there was a new principal there during my kids' time at the middle school, at least 4. At least 3 at PALY over the time they were Vikings.

I have no idea what or why such a high churn rate in principals occurs. Obvious explanations, as in the current instances of career or health reasons, are understandable. Still, the job seems to be one in which people do not last very long, for whatever reason.

I worked for 8 years at a company earlier in my business life, and had 5 CEO's during my time there. A major reason for my leaving was that lacking a solid leader at the top, with some continuity, resulted in a dysfunctional organization.

Principals are CEO's. They should take on that mantle assuming and expecting that they are going to be on the job for at least several years. Positive impact only happens after being in such a position for a while. Negative impact, by contrast, can happen immediately, even when it may be for the right reasons longer term.

I hope those doing the hiring think long term about bringing in new principals, people committed to being on the job for a number of years, not viewing it as a career move to the next big thing.