Education administrators set educational standards and goals and aid in establishing policies and procedures to carry them out. They develop academic programs; train and motivate teachers and other staff; manage guidance and other student services; administer record keeping; prepare budgets; handle relations with parents, prospective students, employers, or others outside of education; and perform numerous other activities.
They supervise subordinate managers, management support staff, teachers, counselors, librarians, coaches, and others. In an organization such as a small day care center, there may be one administrator who handles all functions. In a major university or large school system, responsibilities are divided among many administrators, each with a specific function.
JOB TITLES AND DUTIES
Principals manage elementary and secondary schools. They set the academic tone as high-quality instruction is their main responsibility. Principals assign teachers and other staff, help them improve their skills, and evaluate them. They confer with them, advising, explaining, or answering procedural questions. They visit classrooms, review instructional objectives, and examine learning materials. They also meet with other administrators, students, parents, and representatives of community organizations. They prepare budgets and reports on various subjects, including finances, health, and attendance, and oversee the requisitioning and allocation of supplies. As school budgets become tighter, many principals are trying to encourage financial support for their schools from local businesses.
In recent years, as schools have become more involved with a student's emotional welfare as well as academic achievement, schools are providing more services to students. As a result, principals face new responsibilities. For example, in response to the growing number of dual-income and single-parent families and teenage parents, more schools have before- and after-school child care programs or family resource centers, which also may offer parenting classes and social service referrals. With the help of other community organizations, principals also may establish programs to combat the increase in crime, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexually transmitted disease among students.
Assistant principals aid the principal in the overall administration of the school. Depending on the number of students, a school may have more than one assistant principal, or may not have any. They are responsible for programming student classes and coordinating transportation, custodial, cafeteria, and other support ser-vices. They usually handle discipline, social and recreational programs, and health and safety. They also may counsel students on personal, educational, or vocational matters.
Central office administrators manage public schools in school district central offices. This group includes those who direct subject area programs such as English, music, vocational education, special education, and mathematics. They plan, evaluate, and improve curriculums and teaching techniques and help teachers improve their skills and learn about new methods and materials. They oversee career counseling programs and testing, which measures students' abilities and helps place them in appropriate classes.
Central office administrators also include directors of programs such as guidance, school psychology, athletics, curriculum and instruction, and professional development. With the trend toward site-based management, principals and assistant principals, along with teachers and other staff, have primary responsibility for many of these programs in their individual schools.
Academic deans, also known as deans of faculty, provosts, or university deans, are found in colleges and universities, assist presidents, and develop budgets and academic policies and programs. They direct and coordinate activities of deans of individual colleges and chairpersons of academic departments.
College or university department heads or chairpersons are in charge of departments such as English, biological science, or mathematics. They coordinate schedules of classes and teaching assignments, propose budgets, recruit, interview, and hire applicants for teaching positions, evaluate faculty members, and perform other administrative duties in addition to teaching.
Deans of students, also known as vice presidents of student affairs or student life, or directors of student services, direct and coordinate admissions, foreign student services, and health and counseling services, as well as social, recreation, and related programs. In a small college, they may counsel students.
Registrars are custodians of students' education records. They register students, prepare student transcripts, evaluate academic records, oversee the preparation of college catalogs and schedules of classes, and analyze registration statistics.
Directors of admissions manage the process of recruiting and admitting students and work closely with financial aid directors, who oversee scholarship, fellowship, and loan programs.
Directors of student activities plan and arrange social, cultural, and recreational activities, assist student-run organizations, and may orient new students. Athletic directors plan and direct intramural and intercollegiate athletic activities, including publicity for athletic events, preparation of budgets, and supervision of coaches.
Education administrators hold management positions with significant responsibility. Coordinating and interacting with faculty, parents, and students can be fast-paced and stimulating, but also stressful and demanding. Some jobs include travel.
Principals and assistant principals whose main duty is discipline may find working with difficult students frustrating, but challenging.
Most education administrators work more than forty hours a week, including many nights and weekends when school activities take place. Unlike teachers, they usually work year-round.