January 30, 2023

Statistics from the National Association of Secondary School Principals survey say that only 2% of school leaders are planning to never leave their current role while 98% will leave in the time frame of the next year to ten years.

To keep these leaders in their profession, 28% of them say that a better work-life balance would be most likely to make them stay, while another reason is needing a higher salary, which 21% of the survey takers agree with.

I am blessed with the opportunity to be in a place like Bellwood-Antis and am looking forward to many more years of making a positive impact on the community that I am grateful to call ‘home.”

— Myers Principal Stinson

The NASSP survey reached more than one thousand principals and vice principals over the month of June 2022.

However, even though one in two principals are considering career changes, the three principals at Bellwood-Antis are not planning to be a part of those statistics. They can, though, relate to the stress contributing to such alarming numbers.

Dr. Donald Wagner, Bellwood’s middle school principal, thinks the statistics are what they are because principals never truly “clock out.”

“The job of a school principal, is without question, stressful. Principals are generally responsible for it all – supervision of staff and students, athletics, food service, transportation, curriculum and so on. Over time, some get worn down by it all and the sense of overwhelming responsibility leads to health issues and professional unhappiness,” he said.

B-A’s high school principal, Mr. Richard Schreier, agrees that at times the workload can be overwhelming. COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines have also created major obstacles that those in leadership positions have to overcome.

“The stressors of the job vary from day to day and year to year,” Mr. Schreier said. “I am fortunate to work in a great district with a supportive community and leadership at the top.”

Dr. Harpster feels similarly, noting that outside factors stressing both administrators and teachers are beginning to affect schools’ ability to hire prospective educators.

“Principals end up in the middle of all these political and deeply rooted, emotional issues. Add that to the already long list of stressors of the job and it becomes overwhelming. Like other service professionals such as police and health care, people are feeling unappreciated and underpaid. I am deeply concerned about the future of public education and the growing shortage of teachers and administrators,” she said.

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