It may be obvious to point out how much the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of education. Although we may not be fully aware of the entire scope of this "butterfly effect," educational leaders have already started taking note of what needs urgent improvement. From providing better access to technology to addressing trauma to re-imagining school curricula, educational professionals have several concerns to address. The field is certainly changing, and its new challenges also bring exciting new opportunities for aspiring school administrators, principals, and leaders.
For all rising educators with leadership potential, a career change from teaching to administration may be both enticing and daunting. It might be off-putting to consider a role with a less direct impact on students, but in reality, educational leadership roles have an equally crucial purpose in the field.
To quote Irene Chen from the Overdeck Family Foundation, "Strong school leadership is second only to classroom instruction in school-related factors that impact student learning. This should not be surprising: school leaders create the structures that impact teachers' working conditions and ability to successfully teach students." Thus, positions in educational leadership are the foundation upon which teachers will stand and students will thrive.
School administrators, advisors, principals, curriculum directors, and district leaders must wear many hats. From budgeting to problem-solving to communicating with students, teachers, and families, the day-to-day responsibilities of a school leader require both hard and soft skills in a vast array of topics.
In a rapidly-changing world, it's not easy to stay up-to-date with the newest tools and techniques. As the field of education evolves, so do the most pressing issues that affect students. Among them are questions of diversity and social justice; mental health; special education; and the homework gap — which has widened since the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted unequal access to online education.
Although many of these are "human-focused" issues, learning to analyze data to propel change has become imperative for principals and administrators. "Knowing what to do is not enough," writes Chen. "The best school leaders can use that data and information to coach and empower their teaching staff to improve their own pedagogy and student learning."
Learning is part of the process, which is why an advanced degree can be quite helpful to those who are considering taking this path. With an advanced degree in Educational Leadership, graduates can become school administrators, principals, and district leaders.
Average Salary for Educational Leadership Positions
It may also be appealing to know that the earning rates for professionals in the field are promising, even if salaries can vary widely depending on factors like education, certifications, additional skills, and years of experience.
According to 2021 numbers, the state of Florida offers the following figures for education leaders:
- School administrators bring home an average of $66,914 a year, with top earners making $78K or more.
- School principals earn an average of $104,794 a year. Evidence of the high salary potential for school principals is also found under "Salary Schedule – Principal" for the Palm Beach County school district, for instance: The base salary for school principals ranges from $98,400 to $140,260. With other criteria, including advanced degree supplements factored in, the salary ranges from $125,706 to $167,566. The Palm Beach County school district compensation page also includes a pay brochure showing up to $2,500 in advanced degree pay for master's graduates, up to $3,400 for specialist/double master's degree holders, and up to $5,000 for doctoral degree holders.
- School superintendents in Florida average $159,055 per year, with Salary.com figures on the high end exceeding $221,855. In West Palm Beach, for example, most school superintendent salaries range from $133,609 to $197,368, with the average being $163,564 and top earners drawing $228,144 or more.
So, if you are a teacher about to make the leap into a higher-earning leadership position in order to catalyze change at a broader level, now is the time to do it.
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