Great Principals Know Teaching Matters - and We Recognize Them

Great Principals come in a wide variety of personalities and styles - there is no single template. We celebrate them and their schools each year when we award our Elizabeth Rohatyn Prize, for which nominations will be accepted starting March 1.

Even with great variation among type, we see one especially important commonality among the finest principals. They understand to their core that teaching matters. Great principals are not always the building's classic instructional leader. But if they're not, they have one or more great instructional leaders at and on their side.

The most effective principals almost always set up systems to ensure that teachers are working in collaborative ways. Sometimes the collaboration is subtle, and sometimes, as we saw in our last two Rohatyn Prize Winners, teacher collaboration and continuous improvement are built into the school's DNA.

Collaboration is not an end in and of itself. It's about developing trust. Trust in schools makes it possible for people to grow. How? Trust allows teachers to admit when they need help, acknowledge challenges and pain points, share ideas and take advantage of opportunities to improve. In those places where there is trust among teachers -- and the honesty necessary to push each other's practice -- you will most likely find children reaching their potential.

A principal, like a teacher in her classroom, is the key to creating a climate of trust. The Rohatyn Prize for Schools Where Teaching Matters feels particularly timely this year. With the demise of the teacher evaluation deal there was conflict between teachers and management about how we should support and advance the teaching profession.Trust seemed in short supply.

We are glad to offer a forum where teachers and parents can highlight the great work of principals who run schools where teaching matters and trust flourishes. The critical importance of a strong, effective leader is clear. And we want them to be clearly recognized, rewarded, and emulated. Please weigh in with a nomination!