A Guide for Principals and Administrators

Handbook for Principals of Seventh-Day Adventist Schools

“There are no posts of honor but only of service.”

– W.A. Spicer, GC President 1922-1930.

“A knowledge of God is the foundation of all true education and of all true service.”

– EG White, Ministry of Healing p. 409.


Being a Seventh-day Adventist school principal is an awesome opportunity and responsibility to serve God, change lives, and further the mission of the world church. Although many things are asked of school principals that can seem overwhelming at times, ultimately it is a position that can strengthen an individual’s personal walk with Christ while being professionally rewarding. Those who assume this role and responsibility are to be affirmed for their commitment and dedication to this ministry.

There are few other positions in the Seventh-day Adventist church that allow an individual to have such a wide-ranging impact as that of school principal. From the influence a principal has on the faculty, staff, individual students, and their families to the broader impact a vibrant school can have on the greater community, the importance of the role a principal plays as the leader of a school cannot be overstated or underestimated. It is a position that must be approached prayerfully, purposefully, and with a continually renewed commitment to excellence.

Much is asked of Seventh-day Adventist principals. To some extent they are expected to be a school’s curricular expert, facilities manager, mental health therapist, chief financial officer, records keeper, community liaison, spiritual leader, and educational visionary. This handbook is intended to be a resource for those who have answered the call to mission as a Seventh-day Adventist principal. It offers guidance and support on some of the critical issues that a principal will encounter in the position.


It is important for a principal to understand the organization of the North American Division (NAD) K-12 school system and how the church governs that structure. The accompanying flowchart provides highlights of the relationships as they relate specifically to principals. Notice that some of the arrows indicate lines of authority, and others indicate advisory functions.

NAD Working Policy and the Church Manual contain the basic policies for the operation of the Adventist Church and related institutions. Union conference Education Codes are the primary source for many more policies and guidelines that accommodate most state/provincial laws pertaining to education.