3. Management

The primary function of a principal is that of leader. However, there are a significant number of management functions that must also be completed if a principal is to be successful. Learning to balance the areas of leadership and management is an ongoing process. An important component of this is knowing when to delegate management tasks.



Each school, local conference of education (LCOE), and union conference of education (UCOE) will have different expectations about when certain tasks must be completed. However, following is a general listing of yearly duties and events:


  • Ensure all faculty/staff positions are filled.
  • Continue student recruitment.
  • Ensure that all school records (e.g. student and financial) for the previous year have been transitioned for the new school year.
  • Complete master schedule, room assignments, and student schedules for the coming year.
  • Finalize school calendar* for coming year.
  • Determine testing dates for standardized achievement tests as required by UCOE
  • Review/revise school policies for the School Bulletin/Student Handbook and the Faculty Handbook.
  • Develop schedule and agenda for pre-session.


  • Prepare back-to-school communications for students, parents, faculty/staff.
  • Ensure that emergency plans and procedures for school safety are developed and communicated with school personnel.
  • Conduct new faculty/staff orientation.
  • Conduct pre-session meetings with faculty/staff.
  • Facilitate a new student orientation.
  • Review protocols and provide training as required for topics such as child abuse, sexual harassment, blood-borne pathogens, etc., with faculty/staff.
  • Schedule faculty/staff meetings, school committees, and other regular meeting dates.


  • Set up classroom visitation schedule for supervision of instruction.
  • Establish crisis management communication protocols.
  • Arrange for the taking of school pictures.
  • Hold an open house or back-to-school night.


  • Prepare revised budget and present to school board.
  • Process 1st quarter report cards.


  • Hold parent/teacher conferences.
  • Prepare for holiday events.


  • Hold a faculty/staff Christmas party.
  • Present a Christmas program.


  • Ensure that teacher intent forms for following year are submitted.
  • Process 1st semester report cards and make necessary preparations for a new semester.
  • Begin plans for graduation.
  • Continue recruitment activities.


  • Construct list of personnel needs and make teacher recruitment plans for following year (personnel committee).
  • Begin preliminary budget process for following year.
  • Develop school calendar for following year.
  • Review/revise school bulletin/student handbook.


  • Process 3rd quarter report cards.
  • Solicit class choice preferences from students for following year.
  • Continue recruitment activities.


  • Build master schedule for following year.
  • Complete graduation arrangements.
  • Develop Spiritual Master Plan for following year.


  • Set final examination schedule.
  • Solicit student activity dates for next year’s school calendar.
  • Make plans for camp meeting, as appropriate.
  • Continue recruitment activities.


  • Prepare and give final examinations.
  • Process end of year grade reporting.
  • Hold faculty farewells.
  • Conduct graduation ceremonies.
  • Hold post-session with faculty/staff.
  • Do year-end inventory of textbooks, supplies, assets, and equipment.
  • Compile book orders (refer to textbook lists) and supply requisitions for following year.

At Various Times:

  • Plan and hold an alumni weekend.
  • Plan and hold an academy day.
  • Plan and hold visitation days (“roundup,” “open house,” “bump up”).


Finding adequate funds for programs and activities on a school campus is a constant challenge. Fund raising can be separated into two categories: development program and organizations/activities.

Development Program

Schools must have an organized development program in order to provide an additional source of income to the institution. A development program establishes a base of financial support through contact with the school’s alumni, interested parties, local businesses, and foundations. While the principal can manage such a program, time generally does not allow for the principal to carry out all the duties necessary. It is better to have a development director or a development committee. Using the consulting services of Philanthropic Service for Institutions (PSI) at the NAD, a principal can initiate and support a successful development program.

Organizations and Activities

Various organizations (e.g., senior class, student association, music department, Home and School, etc.) will choose to raise funds for activities. A school should have a policy for determining:

  • Which organization gets which fund-raising activity.
  • How the fund raisers are scheduled.
  • Fund-raising guidelines (e.g., types of items to be sold, activities presented as fund raisers, tax implications, etc.).
  • Appropriate handling of funds.


Good principals go where the action is. Making time to get out of the office is not easy. Following are some examples that may be helpful:

  • Drop by the teachers’ lounge/workroom.
  • Use the drop-off and pick-up process to interact with students and families.
  • Eat lunch with students and teachers.
  • Go on student field trips.
  • Schedule daily “visibility time” in the halls before, during, and after school.
  • Spend a few minutes reading in the school library each day.
  • Substitute teach once in a while.
  • Supervise study hall occasionally.
  • Use walk-by and drop-in classroom observations.
  • Attend games, performances, practices, and rehearsals.


Field trips provide experiences that enhance the academic life for each student. Field trips should be planned and arranged by the classroom teacher. The principal should ensure that the school has a process for the:

  • Approval of trips.
  • Arranging of transportation.
  • Budgeting and collection of funds.

Approval of Trips

The union Education Code and LCOE policies will provide direction regarding the approval process. Lack of appropriate approval(s) can expose the school to undue liability.


Transportation arrangements should be made in accordance with school policy. Adventist Risk Management policies and state/provincial laws must be followed. When using cars and/or vans, drivers must provide evidence of minimum insurance coverage, have been screened as a volunteer, and undergo a driving record review. Fifteen passenger vans are NOT to be used for any school transportation.

Budgeting and Collection of Funds

A budget should be prepared for each trip. This may be as simple as listing expenses and income to ensure that each trip is financially sound and within school policy. Policy for proper handling of funds collected should be in place and clearly reviewed with faculty.


Administering discipline is the responsibility of the administration and the faculty. A good discipline policy begins with simple, fair, consistent, and reasonable expectations. Rules should be few and written in clear language. Discipline policies should also include the steps of due process to be followed. Administration should follow the approved policies of the school, Union, and state/province.

Discipline should be redemptive and progressive. In order for progressive discipline to be most effective, communication must take place between the school and the parents of the student involved. Remember that corporal punishment is never an option. The school board involvement is limited to expulsion hearings.


The principal must ensure that the school has a emergency preparedness plan. The following suggestions can help guide the process of preparing the plan:

  • Align the plan with accepted guidelines and incorporate applicable governmental regulations.
  • Consult local first-responder agencies.
  • Attach building floor plans to the emergency preparedness plan.
  • Establish a crisis-management team with specific responsibilities for members to address immediate needs and follow-up activities necessary to reestablish safe school operations.
  • Provide annual review and training.
  • Ensure that the emergency preparedness plan includes counseling resources to assist students and staff in the wake of a crisis.
  • Designate one person as the school’s official spokesperson. (It doesn’t always have to be the principal.)


Crisis-related communication should begin with the school family. The principal should provide a written statement to each teacher that can be shared with all students and families. The school family should hear directly from the principal rather than hearing the news first from the media.

The presence of the media is inevitable and sometimes can be helpful. Principals need to learn effective ways to communicate with the media to accurately inform the public, maintain perspective, and bolster confidence in the school’s ability to manage crisis situations. When dealing with the media, the following tips will help:

  • Seek help from the LCOE or union conference communication director.
  • The goal is to inform the public accurately and in a timely manner.
  • Keep a positive demeanor and attitude of openness.
  • Use a prepared written statement, including facts that need to be communicated and an appropriate expression of concern for victims and their families.
  • Assume that anything that is said will be quoted (and perhaps misquoted), so respond to questions by reiterating the points from the prepared statement.
  • When there is no information to answer a question, simply state that fact in a straightforward manner. Avoid using “no comment” as a response.
  • Answer questions truthfully and accurately, without embellishment or editorializing.
  • Try to minimize media intrusion, distraction, and disruption if school is in session. Have a designated area in which to meet with the media.
  • Do not grant media access to students without parental permission.
  • Despite media pressure, always respect individual privacy.
  • When speaking to the press use a natural conversational manner, avoid the use of jargon, and don’t speak too rapidly.
  • Stay focused. Do not allow reporters to lead you away from the subject.


School safety issues fall into a variety of categories:

  • Supervision of students
  • Drills
  • Physical plant
  • School violence
  • Warning systems

Supervision of Students

There must be appropriate supervision to provide a safe environment in which students can learn and grow. Adventist Risk Management can provide guidelines as to the number of students per supervisor in various situations.


Regulations may differ in each state/province for the frequency of drills per year. A record of dates and times of the following drills is to be kept on file in the office:

  • Fire drills
  • Natural disaster drills (i.e., earthquake, tornado, tsunami, etc.)
  • Lockdown drills
  • Shelter in place
  • Reverse evacuation (evacuating from outdoor activities)

Physical Plant

The school safety committee should regularly inspect the physical plant to ensure that students and faculty/staff are in an environment free from known risks. Evaluate the school facility with the intent to eliminate dark, secluded, and unsupervised spaces Emergency exit routes are to be clearly posted in classrooms, laboratories, offices, cafeteria, dormitories, etc. Fire extinguishers should be inspected and maintained as prescribed by law.

Transportation of Students

The principal oversees the safety for all school-provided transportation. All aspects of school transportation must comply with state/provincial regulations. The following list includes specific items to consider.

  • Vehicles must be regularly serviced, in good operating condition, and include functioning seat belts for all passengers as regulated.
  • All drivers, including parent volunteers, must be screened, appropriately licensed, and insured for the vehicles they drive.
  • Permission slips and medical releases must be available in each vehicle for all student passengers.
  • Each school vehicle is to have a first aid kit.
  • A school policy that prohibits a driver’s use of a cell phone for texting or calls while operating a motor vehicle must be communicated to all drivers.

School Violence

Facilitating a safe culture can minimize the threat of violent episodes from within the school community. Listed below are some things that can be done to decrease the likelihood of a violent episode:

  • Build a partnership with local law enforcement.Design an effective discipline policy including harassment, social media guidelines, and cyberbullying.
  • Develop connections to community resources.
  • Devise a system for reporting and analyzing student behaviors that raise concerns about potential violence, even when the behavior is not criminal.
  • Discuss safety and security issues openly.
  • Emphasize positive relationships among students and faculty/staff.
  • Focus on student engagement and academic success.
  • Help students feel safe expressing their feelings.
  • Implement school-wide education and training to promote a positive school community.
  • Involve families in meaningful ways.
  • Involve students in making decisions about school policies and programs.
  • Offer extended-day programs for students (e.g., athletics).
  • Promote good citizenship and character.
  • Report students who are suspected of being abused or neglected.
  • Treat students with respect.


Each school functions more effectively with standing administrative committees. In small school settings, board and community members may be valuable in assisting with some committees, e.g. Marketing, Technology, Safety, etc. Some general guidelines for working with committees are:

  • Define the purpose for each committee, clarify the need for confidentiality, and establish the expected outcomes.
  • Allow faculty/staff members input in choosing the committee(s) on which to serve.
  • Document all committee work—if it’s not in the minutes, it didn’t happen.
  • Give committees full credit for what they do.
  • Have a good reason for the existence of every committee.
  • Limit the size of each committee.
  • Schedule committee meetings only when there are agenda items to discuss.

Some examples of school committees are:

Academic Standards (Curriculum) Committee

The academic standards committee assists administration in curriculum leadership of the school. This committee is responsible for:

  • Aiding in the development of the class schedule.
  • Assisting in the evaluation of textbooks, supplementary reading materials, and instructional media.
  • Assisting in the implementation of curriculum policies found in the union Education Code.
  • Assisting in the preparation of accreditation reports.
  • Evaluating transcripts received from other schools as requested by the registrar.
  • Hearing appeals regarding adjustments in a student’s program.
  • Identifying resources that will improve student learning.
  • Initiating and encouraging innovative programs and assisting in their evaluation.
  • Providing leadership for the campus in the area of curriculum planning.
  • Recommending ideas for teacher in-service.
  • Reviewing and accepting teachers’ course outlines.
  • Reviewing annually the achievement test results. Studying and assessing current national curriculum issues.

Studying and suggesting a variety of teaching strategies that meet the diverse learning styles and achievement levels of students.

Administrative Council

The functions of the administrative council may include:

  • Coordinating school schedule and calendar.
  • Formulating policies to recommend to the faculty/staff.
  • Functioning as a discipline committee.
  • Serving as a council in which any administrative problems may be discussed and action taken.
  • Serving as coordinating agency between all parts of the institution.

Admissions Committee

The duties of the admissions committee are to:

  • Review all student applications for admission, making decisions regarding acceptance or denial based on school policies.
  • Assist the registrar in any matters connected with admission of students.

Marketing Committee

The function of the marketing committee, made up of a representation of stakeholders, is to develop, update, and implement the strategies outlined in a marketing plan. Each school should have a written marketing plan that includes strategies for student retention, recruitment, and constituency awareness.

Religious Activities Committee

The religious activities committee is generally coordinated by the campus chaplain or Bible teacher. It is recommended that students be included on this committee. The duties of this committee are to coordinate such activities as:

  • Bible-study groups
  • Chapels
  • Church services
  • Vespers
  • Weeks of prayer
  • Community service
  • Outreach
  • Mission trips

Safety Committee

Each school must initiate and activate a continuous safety education program monitored by the safety committee. The safety committee should meet, at minimum, on a quarterly basis. The duties may include:

  • Ensuring that fire alarms are in working order.
  • Ensuring that fire extinguishers are placed strategically throughout the campus.
  • Conducting and monitoring regular emergency safety drills.
  • Conducting walking tours of the school plant to ensure that all fire and safety hazards are eliminated.
  • Maintaining accurate records of drills and safety inspections.
  • Developing a building exit plan and posting it in each classroom.
  • Ensuring that Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements are met.
  • Monitoring the storage, use, and disposal of hazardous and toxic materials.

Technology Committee

Each school should have a written technology plan. This plan should be developed and monitored by the school’s technology committee. The plan could include:

  • An outline of long-range goals for campus technology.
  • A prioritization for purchases of hardware and software.
  • An overview of how faculty/staff will be trained for the implementation of technology in the classroom

The committee may also be responsible for:

  • Monitoring the appropriate use agreements.
  • Monitoring the media-release permission agreements.
  • Ensuring that site licenses are current and adequate for campus use.


Minutes preserve a permanent, official record of the actions taken at meetings. Accurate minutes guide implementation of the decisions made, help avoid future misunderstandings, and share the proceedings for those unable to participate.

Minutes are considered legal documents, and it can be presumed that if it isn’t in the minutes, it didn’t happen. It is essential that the principal ensure accurate and concise minutes be published and distributed of all official meetings in a timely manner. While there may be variation in format, official minutes should include the name of the school, the board/committee, date/time of the meeting, who attended and if there was a quorum, all motions made and voted, any declared conflicts of interest or abstentions from voting, and reports from various sub-committees.

Minutes should NOT include:

  • Any member opinions, judgments, or personal perspectives.
  • Criticism or accolades of individuals unless it takes the form of a motion. Expressions of appreciation may be included by a clear consensus of meeting participants.
  • Discussion specifics, though a summary of the discussion is usually included. It is not appropriate to personalize these summaries with individual views.
  • Extended rehashing of reports received. Simply record the highlights or key facts/points, particularly if a written report is attached.

Board Executive Session Minutes

School boards meet in executive session to discuss sensitive topics such as personnel and discipline. Regular board meeting minutes should reflect that an executive session was held and identify the agenda topic addressed.

Executive session minutes are recorded and stored separately from the regular board meeting minutes, but maintain the same format and details. Minutes of executive session must be approved in another executive session of the board.


Faculty meetings provide time for the faculty/staff to engage in professional development, evaluate student learning results, review spiritual and academic action plans, coordinate upcoming events, and discuss other important issues. Some things to remember for effective faculty meetings are:

  • Have regularly scheduled meetings that start and end on time.
  • Hold no more meetings than necessary.
  • Avoid top-down meetings whenever possible—facilitate collaboration.
  • Distribute agendas in advance and provide a process for adding items.
  • Use meetings to address school-wide issues.
  • Encourage idea sharing between departments and grade levels.
  • Summarize discussions and actions, and distribute minutes.
  • End on a positive note.


Graduation is the capstone event for the school and the students. These events draw the attention of the community to the school and have a major impact on the perception of your school and your leadership. The planning of graduation events should be ongoing as it can take many months.

Consider the following in the graduation planning process:

  • Reviewing the established graduation traditions of the school community
  • Selecting the graduation speaker(s)
  • Ordering graduation invitations
  • Selecting and confirming the location of the graduation event(s)
  • Planning, proof reading, and printing the graduation program/bulletin
  • Selecting and approving music (special numbers, processionals and recessionals, etc.)
  • Assuring appropriate student recognition
  • Determining the audio/visual/technology needs
  • Developing and implementing the budget for the graduation event(s)
  • Preparing the campus and facilities to provide a welcoming atmosphere
  • Schedule and ensure adequate rehearsal
  • Providing appropriate security
  • Providing preferred seating
  • Checking apparel
  • Determining the role of the 7th grade and/or junior class involvement in the graduation program
  • Checking in regularly with teacher(s) and/or sponsor(s) of the graduating class


To effectively communicate student progress, the school should facilitate parent teacher conferences at least twice a year. These conferences are most commonly held at the end of the first and third quarters to provide a mid-term report. In addition to giving the parents a copy of the student’s report card, standardized assessment results can be shared at the first conference of the year.

Factors to consider:

  • Will conferences be held on a full day or half day(s)?
  • Will parents make appointments in advance?
  • Will conferences be held in the teacher’s classroom, general location, or virtually?
  • What will be the length of each conference?
  • Will students be involved, or even lead the conferences?
  • What efforts will be made to encourage parents to attend?
  • How will you provide for the comfort of the teachers, i.e. breaks and meals?


In boarding academies, the principal must have deans who can serve as effective administrators in the dormitories. The principal ensures that the philosophy of the school is implemented by the deans. Ongoing communication between the administrator and deans is vital. A regular deans’ council will become the forum for problems to be addressed and planning to take place. The principal and the deans should collaborate to develop the dormitory handbook.


Principals need to ensure that the enrollment of international students is an effective part of the school’s mission and that appropriate resources and courses are available to help the students succeed.

A school (or conference) accepting international students must be certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), and follow the protocols on the U.S. government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) website. An individual on each campus must be designated as the school’s contact.

Students who are not permanent residents of the United States must have a student visa in order to attend school. To begin the process for receiving the F1 immigration status, the school must issue an I-20 form. This should be done only after the application and admission process is completed.


To manage the many activities on a school campus, a master calendar should be developed and maintained. This calendar must be kept up-to-date throughout the year and be made readily available to the school’s stakeholders digitally (website, app, email, etc.) and/or, as appropriate, in hardcopy. There are many software and online options available for developing, managing, and distributing a calendar. In developing the school’s master calendar, ensure to:

  • Align the school calendar with the LCOE and the UCOE calendars.
  • Solicit input from faculty/staff with a suggested list of activities and dates for the next school year.
  • Conduct a joint meeting of sponsors and administrators to create the calendar.
  • Include input from the local churches, as youth pastors, Pathfinders, and Sabbath School leaders are also scheduling events that will involve students.

Remember, the goal of a master calendar is to keep the stakeholders of the school informed, minimize conflicts and time out of class, and best utilize resources such as transportation, facilities, and personnel.


A school bulletin/student handbook should be published each year and include, but not limited to, the following information:

  • Academic policies
  • Admission policies
  • Attendance policies
  • Behavior policies
  • Discipline policies
  • Dress code
  • Faculty and staff
  • Financial policies and tuition rates
  • Graduation requirements
  • Grievance policies
  • Philosophy, mission, and goals
  • School board members
  • School calendar
  • Technology polices, e.g. acceptable use, social media

The school bulletin is to be reviewed and approved by the school board each year and a process established to ensure that parents have received a copy.

When posting a digital version of the school bulletin/student handbook, ensure that it is current and in a format that cannot be easily modified, e.g. PDF.


A program of student orientation should be conducted at the beginning of each school year. This orientation could be expanded to include parents. The student handbook provides the basis for this orientation.



The principal is responsible for leading and managing the accreditation process. The accreditation process is vital for holding the school accountable to accepted standards of quality and facilitating school improvement. Accreditation protocols provide the framework for a continuous process of self-evaluation, accountability, and improvement. Continuous school improvement must not be seen as a one-time event squeezed into a busy school calendar once every few years. Rather, this process provides the opportunity for engaging stakeholders in self-evaluation, and identifying areas of strength and areas for improvement in the school. Students, teachers, parents, board members, and the administration should have opportunity to review data that measure school programs and work on action plans that will lead to school improvement.

All Adventist schools are accredited by the Adventist Accrediting Association, Inc. Most secondary schools are also accredited by a regional accrediting body. Material and resources about the evaluative process are available from the NAD Office of Education website. The local conference office of education (LCOE) and the union conference office of education (UCOE) will provide direction about the accreditation process and how to prepare the necessary reports.

The principal must:

  • Be familiar with the most recent visiting committee report, noting especially the areas for improvement and the approved Action Plans.
  • Prepare the annual Progress Report, which is a response to the areas for improvement, and report on progress in completing the Action Plans.
  • Organize and supervise the self-study process. (See the instructions for completing the self-study report as directed by the UDOEC. For many schools this is embedded in Accreditrac 2.0).
  • Follow the expectations of the accrediting association in the development of a continuous school improvement plan.


Public functions such as Saturday night programs, class nights, graduation, and all other activities for which the school is the sponsor should:

  • Be conducted in accordance with recognized principles of appropriate decorum.
  • Be sensitive to the values of the local constituency.
  • Be aligned with the standards and principles of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.


Records Management

The normal operation of the school results in the production and accumulation of a large volume of files and records of administrative and historical value. In order to preserve documents of permanent value and to avoid the unnecessary preservation of unneeded materials, each school will find it advantageous to establish a records management program aligned with NAD Working Policy.

The administrator, business manager, registrar, and other employees should evaluate the legal, financial, and cultural worth of various types of files and records produced in all offices. Various documents and minutes not only tell the history of an organization but may be called upon in case of litigation. Many records that seem to be of little value beyond the initial retention period grow in historical value as time passes and may serve future administrators in restudying issues and problems.

Records Retention

Each school should establish a records center — a storage place in which to protect documents from fire, deterioration, and unauthorized access. Documents and files considered to be permanent may be kept in hard copy, digital, or microfilm at the discretion of the LCOE.

The principal should work with the LCOE to develop a records retention schedule for the following:

  • Student permanent records
  • Student cumulative records
  • Teacher grade books or equivalent records
  • Vital school records (e.g., constitutions, minutes, property records, etc.)
  • Historical materials