by Dr. Christina M. Macalino

As I was initialing teacher end-of-year checkout forms and saying summer farewells, at least five teachers asked me if I was coming back next year. Not as a joke, not to be cynical, just honestly asking and inquiring due to the history of principal or other admin team member turnover. 

One specific teacher not only asked if I plan to return for the 2021-22 academic year, but also expressed:“This was definitely a hard year for teachers, but I can’t imagine what it felt like to be an administrator during this past school year. You guys [admin] were still required to physically report to work and run a school – staff, students, parents – virtually. Talk about burnout!” I thanked the teacher for the acknowledgment and retreated back into my office to privately shed a tear or two. (By the way, I am returning. With a big fat smile on my face.)

Typically, when we think of educator burnout, we tend to think of teacher burnout, but we must consider administrator (principal/assistant/vice principal) burnout as an ongoing issue as well. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (May 2019):

Among public school principals who stopped working as a principal in 2016–17, some 32 percent had retired; 32 percent were working in kindergarten through grade 12 education, but not in a school; 27 percent were working in a kindergarten through grade 12 school, but not as a principal, and 8 percent were working at a job outside of kindergarten through grade 12 education.

These are the national, overall statistics, but studies show that principal turnover is higher in schools with higher percentages of students from low-income families, students of color, and low-performing students (Levin and Bradley 2019).  

As a former teacher and current school administrator, I am fully aware of how principal turnover can affect the school community. The principal- (or admin team) revolving-door creates a domino effect – It affects the overall administrative team, which affects the staff stability, which ultimately affects the students. 

Take a listen to Episode 12 as Elin and I unpack this topic. We will share data, discuss article findings, and share personal insights regarding turnover and burnout. 

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