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5 min read

15 thoughtful ways (plus an infographic) to help shout out your principal

This International Women’s Day, it’s time to shout out your principal!  

New Zealand has 1,291 female principals – for the first time, there are more women than men in this role. Coupled with female teachers outnumbering men by nearly 3:1, it is clear that New Zealand’s women hold a massive collective responsibility for young people’s learning. 

At Springboard Trust, we work closely with principals right across New Zealand to improve their leadership for the good of all students. But unfortunately, we can’t work with every single principal – so we’re enlisting you all to help. Let’s be better together and shout out our principals!  

But of course, teachers and principals are busy people. Shouting out someone without much time on their hands might be intrusive if you do it the wrong way.

Thankfully, we have 15 ways for you to shout out a principal for #IWD – we hope you find something that works for your local leader! 

Short on time? Download our Infographic!

How To Shout Out Your Principal [Infographic]

Springboard Trust can only support so many New Zealand principals - let's be better together and shout out the women in charge this #IWD!

Shout-outs that keep it personal 

For many people, the concept of a public shout-out is absolutely mortifying. If you want to acknowledge the hard work of a principal for International Women’s Day in a more private setting, any of the below should do just fine!   

1. A greeting card 

The traditional. The stalwart. The classic. Cards are minimalist, non-intrusive, and let you say something personal and meaningful that a principal can appreciate in their own time!  

2. An email 

Much the same as above, only this time – it's digital. Words of thanks, appreciation or just a simple ‘keep up the great work’ can go a long way to making someone’s day.  

3. Phone call or face-to-face greeting 

For those comfortable with it (on both sides of the interaction), saying how a principal has made a difference over the phone or in person can be supremely rewarding. However, be mindful of the principal – they might be busy during the day, or not want to be disturbed during their free time. Use your discretion and knowledge of the person you want to thank!  

4. A gift 

Now, we don’t mean over-the-top gift baskets sent to the school in plain view of everyone – this could be just as mortifying as shouting from the rooftops. But if you have an existing relationship with the principal and know their tastes, sending them a gift can mean the world.  

5. Be specific

This is more generalised advice for the above. When you’re giving a principal a shout-out, don’t just say “for all the hard work you do”.

Take the time to acknowledge something specific they have done – it might be a strategic initiative that’s worked wonders, innovative decisions in the school, or simply taking the time to go the extra mile for you or your children.  

In 2019, Springboard Trust supported 232 of New Zealand's female principals and teachers to improve their leadership.

Shout-outs in the public arena 

Many people thrive on public acknowledgement of their work. If you know a principal for whom this is the case, then International Women’s Day could be the perfect opportunity to give a shout-out in one of the following ways!  

6. Social media posts 

The Instagram shout-out is a tried and true way to acknowledge people on a social media forum, broadcasting your thanks and appreciation to all your followers.  

You could also do it on your school’s Facebook page, tweet up a storm or go for an inspiring LinkedIn post. Tag them if it’s appropriate and shout out to your heart’s content!  

7. Assemblies or meetings  

Public appreciation in assembly can be an amazing thing. Thunderous applause, heartfelt thanks and a forum that brings it all back to why principals work so hard – the students. School assembly can be the perfect place for the perfect shout-out. 

For something a little more informal, team (or board, or PTA) meetings are also a great setting for collective thanks and caring – consider the classic workplace morning tea!  

8. News and newsletters 

Most schools have a publication of some kind – and even if they don’t, there is always the local paper. Submit an opinion piece, or – if you’re feeling extravagant – even take out some ad space for a loud and proud thank you.  

9. Public gift or gesture

Remember above, where we suggested that some principals might not like getting a gift in public? This could be where it’s appropriate!  

If you work with a principal who loves public acknowledgement, it’s time to get that hamper, bouquet or otherwise highly visible gift together. Who knows – maybe even a barbershop quartet to sing a song?  

10. Being mindful with public shout-outs 

While these gestures can be amazing to receive, it’s important to be very mindful of the recipient’s needs. Be thankful, be sincere – but try not to be intrusive if it’s going to have a negative impact!  

It may not look this professional, but could a well-placed song and dance be the perfect way to praise a principal?

Shout-outs: Wild cards 

These gestures are the wild ones. The ones you might not immediately think of, but if they are appropriate (and executed well), can have magnificent results. As always – use your discretion!  

11. Unfurl a gigantic banner 

The principal’s face. A message of thanks. The lyrics to Tina Turner’s iconic ‘Simply the Best’. You can put whatever you like on a banner, and unfurl it at the right moment for maximum impact!  

12. Create a flash mob 

These aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but can you imagine anything more adorable than an entire school coming together to perform a song and dance in honour of their principal?  

An alternate and more up-to-date version of this is, of course, a TikTok.  

13. Buy them some art 

Finding a piece of art that reflects someone’s work and personality can be tricky. But if you’re confident in choosing the right piece, this can be a massive statement – and a lifelong gift.  

Another way to say thanks with art is to work with the school’s students. Pieces created by the people the principals works so hard for can be some of the most meaningful gifts of all.  

14. Send them away

What better way to shout out someone in one of the busiest professions in the world than by giving them a break from it?  

While principals may not have much free time, banding together to gift them a holiday when they do get time off could be just what they need.  

15. Refer them to us!  

You didn’t think we’d let the article slip by without mentioning our programmes, did you?  

Year after year, principals tells us that the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme is the best professional learning and development they have ever done. A free 10-month course that partners principals with business experts, it’s a vital piece of learning for any principal of any tenure.  

If your principal hasn’t worked with us before, perhaps you want to give them the gift of knowledge – put them in touch with us!  

Want to know more about our programmes?

Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP)

A transformative 10-month leadership development programme for Aotearoa principals.  The Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP) brings New Zealand principals together with strategic experts to develop your leadership and to support clear, insightful planning for schools.  Strategic leadership is a pivotal element for improved school performance. The ability to plan, manage and report as the fulcrum of your community ensures strong relationships and the right conditions for everyone to thrive.    Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme: Expression of interest How SLPP works for NZ principals  Over a series of workshops spanning 10 months, SLPP explores the core elements of strategic leadership for New Zealand principals – beginning the journey to creating better student outcomes.   This learning occurs with the support of a Capacity Partner – a dedicated expert volunteer, with whom principals will build a trusted, high-empathy relationship that delivers outstanding impact. This cross-sector model is unique to Springboard Trust, and ensures every principal who takes part has personalized support to meet their needs at both a personal and professional level.   Together, they work with a cohort of up to six other principal-Capacity partner pairings, under the guidance of an experienced facilitator and Springboard’s own expert Programme Managers.   By the end of the programme, principals typically demonstrate significant progression in:  One- and three-year planning and outlook  Creating and communicating a vision and strategic plan Identifying, communicating with and gaining buy-in from key stakeholders Measuring the impacts of their changes Leading the same transformative change for their team  This forms the bedrock of the conditions for improved student outcomes, which we explore in more detail through our Alumni Services.   For more information on the direct impacts on school leadership that principals gain through SLPP, please check out our annual Impact Reports.   SLPP Requirements and Application Details   SLPP is open to principals who wish to enhance their strategic leadership. However, due to the high number of applicants we receive each year, we prefer to prioritise principals who meet the following criteria for our philanthropically funded places:   Have at least two years of experience as a principal  Have been at their current school for at least 12 months  Have no major PLD commitments in the coming year  Have no Commissioner or Limited Statutory Manager  Have the support of their Board of Trustees Uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles through a particular focus on results for Māori young people and their whanau Are willing to lead others in change   SLPP workshops can be delivered either in person, virtually or through a combination of both – please note that depending on location, some travel may be required for the former.  Across the 10 months, it is expected that principals will spend around two hours per week engaging in this professional learning and working with others, in addition to the workshop times. Volunteers will be required to give around 40 hours of their time, while for facilitators about 50 hours of time is required. For PLD applications, we ask that principals apply for 100 PLD hours. For volunteers with leadership experience who want to find out more about becoming a Capacity Partner, you can find full details of the role here – or contact our Volunteer Manager Rebecca Brown to express your interest in the next programme.   

Want to know more about our programmes?

Springboard Coaching for Leadership (SCL)

Foster your strengths through a comprehensive 360-degree feedback system with coaching support. Springboard Coaching for Leadership is a service designed to support principals, senior and middle school leaders to understand their strengths and how these can be leveraged in existing or future roles.  How does Springboard Coaching for Leadership work?  SCL is a process of reflection, introspection and then connection. The Springboard team – along with our volunteers – provide a principal, senior or middle leader with coaching and guidance to help them decipher their strengths, areas for development and where they should focus their efforts.  This is supported by a comprehensive 360-degree feedback process involving up to 15 people the leader works or engages with. Fully confidential, SCL provides a safe and supportive environment for all the feedback you need to thrive.   You will work through SCL in a series of one-on-one sessions alongside an expert volunteer coach, who will support you to unpack the feedback, set a goal and work on a plan to achieve your goal.  What do school leaders get out of Springboard Coaching for Leadership? Springboard Trust’s leadership framework is a tried and tested model for not just strong school leadership, but the flow-on impacts of that leadership to the rest of the school and wider community. It correlates with the Teaching Council’s Leadership Framework, as well as the Mental Health Foundation’s 5 Ways to Wellbeing model.   Through 360 feedback and coaching in SCL, school leaders will:  Foster trust, safety, creativity and exploratory thinking in themselves and their teams.   Develop strengths-based leadership with clear, practical next steps.   Get unique insight into their own leadership style.   Create positive leadership practices that impact the whole school and community.   Finally, SCL gives you the starting point for developing your own skills and bringing the rest of your leadership team on this journey with you.   Who can take on Springboard Coaching for Leadership? The SCL programme is open to all school principals, their senior leaders and middle leaders.  This service runs across two terms, and requires committed input from up to 15 key people, including leadership team members, direct reports and peers. To find out more about Springboard Coaching for Leadership or to register your interest, head to our Expression of Interest form. 

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