Case Study: The New Principal
When Dr. Jack Prince Accepted the new post as principal of Norden Township Junior-Senior High School, he knew the tasks ahead of him were formidable. He had prior experience as a principal but in a smaller school. Jack knew that he would be replacing a principal who stepped down after a vote of no confidence. It was well known that some of the faculty of business department would pose problems that Jack would have to face.
Jack’s new management staff included an assistant principal at the junior high school and three department chairpersons. Two of the three departments chairs had risen recently from within the faculty ranks, and the third chair, Dr. Bob Neuman, had held his position for more than 10 years.
After the announcement had been made concerning his acceptance as principal, Jack had met with with the superintendent, Dr. Amy Kim. Dr. Kim was an old friend and colleague and had herself moved to the superintendency from secondary principalship. At their first meeting, Dr. Kim warned about some issues Jack would have to work through during the term. She said that the faculty in the school were, for the most part, very effective educators, liked by the student body, and considered highly competent. This faculty would be a pleasure to work with. But Bob Neuman led a small group of faculty who had become complacent. Their material was outdated, their classes were avoided by students except when required, and instructions was less than inspiring. Bob Neuman himself was probably the worst of them all. However, Neuman was influential with his own faculty and exerted methods to control much of the younger faculty. For the past several years, he had also been the president of the local teacher union.
Several days into the new fall semester, Jack contemplated how he would cope with his new challenge. It was too early to make any final judgments, but he was beginning to observe indications of exactly what Amy Kim had spoken about. After much thinking, Jack decided he would, in his words, “stir up the pot.” He intended to call a faculty meeting and announce his intention to create quality teams. His intention was to give more power to factually. He had been strong advocate of the quality movement in his previous position as principal, and he would begin developing exactly that in the present situation.
- What do you think about the “pot-stirring” approach that the new principal decided on? What are its advantages? What are its disadvantages?
- Identify the following in the case: the change agent, potential supporters, and potential dissenters.
- What would you have done in this situation? Why? Explain your proposal in terms of the material discussed in this chapter.
- Identify a task that you, as a new principal, might want to accomplish with your faculty. How would you go about this? What part might quality management play? How would you deal with potential supporters? Potential dissenters?