The First 100 Days of New Principal Position

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It is common knowledge that public education has a critical shortage of qualified and talented people stepping into school leadership roles. A common lament among school districts is that there are so few candidates for principal positions. Educators who do take on a principalship often voice, very early on, frustration over the complexity and demands of the job. After being appointed, new and even experienced principals get little effective guidance and support, and there are few places for them to turn to for support and direction. This situation especially affects the brand new principal but is also a concern for those with experience entering a new job.

When a new principal comes into a school a “productivity gap” occurs which affects the learning environment in a negative way. Teachers tend to hold back and often go into neutral while they wait to see what the new principal is like and what is going to be “the new game”. A new principal can take steps to reduce the time of this “productivity gap” and quickly move the school toward a shared vision of excellence in student growth and achievement. However, usually there is little or no support for the new principal in overcoming this gap.

Aware of the need for new principal support, Pete Pillsbury and Tom Fahey brought together their executive experience in education and business. They have collaborated in designing a process which includes a manual and support system for principals as they start-up a new job. They have chosen to focus on start-up—the first 100 days— because experience and research affirms that this early time frame is where the foundation for future success is laid. The manual lays out a leadership philosophy and specific steps which the new executive should take to ensure success. Each participant is supported and coached through a unique system of technology, group and individualized coaching.


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The Principal Start-up Manual supports the California Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (CPSELS) and qualifies as a Title II expenditure.