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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 free 10-month development programme for New Zealand principals. The Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP) brings New Zealand principals together with strategic experts to develop your leadership and support clear, insightful planning for our schools - free of charge. Strategic leadership is a pivotal element for improved school performance. The ability to plan, manage and report as the fulcrum of your community ensures healthy relationships and the right conditions for everyone to thrive.   But too often, school leaders lack the time, knowledge or resources to learn strategic planning and put it into action.   SLPP under COVID-19 Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Springboard Trust has moved programming and workshops to an online environment - including the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme. This will mean online workshops and modules, with some minor changes to how we schedule longer workshops. For more information, please contact your Programme Manager. How does SLPP work?   1. Expression of interest  We can’t help you develop your leadership if we don’t know you’re there! All New Zealand principals are welcome to participate in the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme. You can get in touch with us here, and one of our Programme Managers will get back to you on availability for our next set of cohorts.   Our Programme Managers are some of the most experienced members of the Springboard Team and will be on hand to guide you through the SLPP journey, answering any and all questions you have. They’ll also be your main point of contact for post-SLPP programmes and services!   Please note that our journeys begin in Term One of each year, so getting in touch with us by the end of Term Two the year before is a good idea.   While we aim to give everyone an opportunity to take part in SLPP, our resourcing only allows for limited places, with schools in greatest need of our assistance given priority.   For volunteers interested in SLPP, please see our Volunteer Support page.   2. Finding your partner   In SLPP, you work extensively with a Capacity Partner – a volunteer from the business world who brings knowledge, trust and curiosity to the relationship.   Having run nearly 100 cohorts in the last decade, the Springboard Team is adept at finding people who work well together.   3. The workshops begin   Over 10 months, you and your Capacity Partner will meet as part of a ‘cohort’, with five to six other principal-capacity partner pairings and one volunteer facilitator (also from one of our major or strategic partners).   This peer-to-peer, cross-sector work means you get insight and understanding of strategic leadership that often isn’t possible on your own.   As a cohort, your progress through nine workshops, each focused on a core element of strategic planning.   4. Present and Celebrate  The final workshop is more of a celebration and reflection. You and the other principals in your cohort will present your strategic plans to everyone, before celebrating the progress you’ve made together alongside your partners and the Springboard Team.   While this ends the formal meetings of your group, many of our cohorts stick together long after the SLPP is complete – meeting quarterly, sharing advice on their strategic plans and continuously evolving their leadership skills.   Most principals who have completed SLPP will also want to continue their leadership development – for example, sharpening their annual planning skills or involving their leadership team in the same professional development. This is where our Alumni Services begin.   Why take on SLPP?   At Springboard, we believe we’re better together. By sharing tools, frameworks and expertise across sectors, principals and business leaders develop much greater understanding of each others’ roles and the common challenges and opportunities that they face as leaders.   This is reflected in New Zealand Council of Educational Research (NZCER) reporting we commissioned on the impacts of SLPP. Some 93 per cent of principals said this programme had a high or medium impact on their leadership.   In turn, this has a positive impact on leadership teams, teachers, and student opportunities.   What comes after SLPP?   The Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme is the first step on your development journey with Springboard Trust. Once you understand and apply strategic planning tools and frameworks yourself, it’s time to move on to areas like implementation, community engagement and distributing leadership across your teams.  Typically, we recommend the Recalibrate Your Strategy workshop as an excellent follow-up to SLPP in Term One the following year. However, alumni principals (those who have completed SLPP) are able to pursue any of the programmes and services we offer.   To find our more about SLPP or join our next cohort, click here.  

Want to know more about our programmes?

Talent Management Workshop

With a New Zealand teaching workforce of 70,000 and counting, principals have a huge variety of people on their teams. Yet it is becoming more challenging to recruit and retain the right people at the right time.    Schools that don’t pay close attention to how their people are feeling, developing and responding to change will likely face higher turnover, and more issues implementing their strategic plans.   Springboard Trust’s Talent Management Workshop gives school leaders an insight into a framework for good talent management, supports schools to develop a people strategy, and gives you the tools to ensure everyone in your school can bring their best.   How does the Talent Management Workshop work? Talent management isn’t a set-and-forget action – it's a constantly evolving process, and one that needs a holistic focus at all times. As with everything, it’s all about the people.   In our Talent Management Workshop, you work with a facilitator and one of the Springboard Programme Managers to develop your school’s own view of talent management, where your team fits in the cycle, what is a priority area for you to start and what you need to do to ensure a healthy, happy team in the future.   The workshop is broken down into five stages, each representing a part of the talent management cycle: onboarding, development, retention, planning and attraction.   We will help you align a talent strategy to your strategic plan, helping you work with the right people for your vision and values. That may include identifying  solutions to address your talent gaps, where your team’s strengths lie, and how the talent management process never stops – even when you’re not actively looking for new people.   It is a half-day workshop, and takes approximately four hours.   What do you get out of the Talent Management Workshop?   Understand the talent management cycle and all its different stages.   Have a framework and tools to get the best out of your people.   Be able to develop a talent management/people strategy for your school.   Apply the GROW coaching model to support your existing and potential people.   Who is the Talent Management Workshop for? The Talent Management workshop is open to all alumni principals (those who have completed the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme) and works best when the leadership team attend the workshop together  To find out more about our next Talent Management workshop, contact your Programme Manager or head on over to our contact page.  

Start your journey

High Performing Leaders (HPL)

High Performing Leaders (HPL) 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 High Performing Leaders work?  HPL 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, HPL provides a safe and supportive environment for all the feedback you need to thrive.   You will work through HPL in five 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 principals get out of High Performing Leaders? 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 Education Council’s Leadership Framework, as well as the Mental Health Foundation’s 5 Ways to Wellbeing model.   Through 360 feedback and coaching in HPL, principals will:  Foster trust, safety, creativity and exploratory thinking in themselves and their team.   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.   Understand and apply the GROW (Goal, Reality, Options, Way Forward) coaching framework.   Finally, High Performing Leaders 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 High Performing Leaders? The HPL programme is open to all Springboard Trust alumni principals (those who have completed the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme), their senior leaders and middle leaders.  This service runs over one school term and requires committed input from up to 15 key people, including coaches, leadership team members, direct reports and peers. To find out more about High Performing Leaders or to register your interest, contact your Programme Manager or head over to our contact page. 

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