A Beginning Rural Principal's Toolkit: A Guide for Success

Brian Ashton, Heather E. Duncan


The purpose of this article is to explore both the challenges and skills needed to effectively assume a leadership position and thus to create an entry plan or ‘toolkit’ for a new rural school leader. The entry plan acts as a guide beginning principals may use to navigate the unavoidable confusion that comes with leadership. It also assists aspiring new leaders to think through, and vicariously experience, the challenges they may face in a leadership role. If focuses on three specific areas most relevant to rural principals: Dealing with professional isolation and loneliness, getting to know and thriving in a rural community, and basic management skills for the lone administrator. It provides a series of tools that beginning principals may find useful as they embark on a leadership journey in a rural setting and also identifies the specific skills various stakeholder groups perceive as most important for rural school leaders.


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