Words To Describe A Good Principal: The Qualities For Success

Just like good teachers, it’s no secret that a great principal can make or break a school.

A successful principal must be an effective leader, communicator, and problem solver who is able to bring together students, staff members, parents, and community members.

They need to have excellent organizational skills while also being able to think outside of the box when it comes to tackling challenges.

To truly understand what makes a great principal requires more than just listing their duties; we need to look at the traits and characteristics that set them apart from other leaders. Because, whilst a leadership role, the role of a principal requires both the heart and mind to be successful.

From integrity and dependability to empathy and optimism, there are many words used to describe principals who excel in their roles as educators.

Here are some key words that define a successful principal.

List of Words To Describe A Principal


Accountable: An accountable principal takes responsibility for their actions and decisions. They set high standards for themselves and the school community, holding themselves and others accountable for meeting those expectations.

Adaptable: An adaptable principal is flexible and responsive to changing circumstances and challenges. They can adjust their strategies and plans as needed, ensuring that the school remains resilient and able to navigate any situation effectively.

Calm: A calm principal maintains composure and poise, even in challenging situations. They approach problems with a level-headed mindset, fostering a sense of stability and reassurance within the school community.

Collaborative: A collaborative principal values teamwork and actively seeks input from staff, students, and parents. They foster an environment where collaboration and cooperation are encouraged, resulting in a stronger and more inclusive school community.

Communicative: A communicative principal excels at both listening and conveying information effectively. They keep all stakeholders well-informed, encourage open dialogue, and maintain strong lines of communication throughout the school community.

Community-Oriented: A community-oriented principal actively engages with the broader community surrounding the school. They build partnerships, collaborate with stakeholders, and involve families and community members in the educational process.

Compassionate: A compassionate principal demonstrates kindness, empathy, and care towards others. They show genuine concern for the well-being and personal growth of students and staff, creating a nurturing and supportive school environment.

Considered: A considered principal carefully considers different perspectives and factors before making decisions. They take the time to gather information, consult with stakeholders, and analyze potential outcomes, ensuring thoughtful and well-informed choices.

Decisive: A decisive principal is able to make informed and timely decisions, considering various perspectives and weighing the pros and cons. They have the ability to act confidently while considering the best interests of the school community.

Empathetic: An empathetic principal demonstrates understanding and compassion towards students, staff, and their concerns. They actively listen, support, and create a safe and inclusive environment that values the well-being of all individuals.

Engaging: An engaging principal captivates and involves others through their enthusiasm and interpersonal skills. They actively engage with students, staff, and parents, fostering a positive and interactive learning environment.

Ethical: An ethical principal upholds high moral and ethical standards. They demonstrate integrity, fairness, and honesty in all aspects of their role, serving as a role model for the school community.

Experienced: An experienced principal possesses a wealth of knowledge and expertise in education and school administration. They have a deep understanding of best practices, educational trends, and effective strategies, drawing upon their experience to make informed decisions.

Fair: A fair principal treats all individuals with equity and impartiality. They ensure that rules, policies, and disciplinary actions are applied consistently and justly, fostering an atmosphere of trust and respect.

Forward-thinking: A forward-thinking principal is future-oriented and embraces innovative ideas and practices. They stay informed about educational advancements, anticipate emerging needs, and encourage a culture of continuous improvement and adaptation.

Innovative: An innovative principal embraces new ideas, approaches, and technologies to enhance teaching and learning experiences. They foster a culture of innovation, encouraging creative problem-solving and continuous improvement.

Inspirational: An inspirational principal motivates and uplifts others through their words, actions, and example. They foster a positive and enthusiastic atmosphere that encourages both students and staff to reach their full potential.

Knowledgeable: A knowledgeable principal possesses a deep understanding of education policies, curriculum, and instructional strategies. They stay informed about current trends and research, applying their knowledge to guide and support teachers in providing high-quality education.

Leader: A principal is a leader who inspires, guides, and motivates the school community towards a common vision. They provide direction, set goals, and empower others to achieve their full potential.

Motivational: A motivational principal inspires and energizes others, instilling a sense of purpose and enthusiasm. They recognize and celebrate accomplishments, encouraging a positive and motivated school community.

Organized: An organized principal demonstrates strong organizational skills in managing administrative tasks, schedules, and resources. They establish efficient systems and processes, promoting productivity and effective school operations.

Proactive: A proactive principal takes initiative and anticipates needs and challenges. They are forward-thinking and work to address issues before they escalate, ensuring a smooth operation of the school.

Problem-Solver: A problem-solving principal approaches challenges as opportunities for growth. They analyze issues, seek innovative solutions, and encourage critical thinking among staff and students to overcome obstacles.

Reflective: A reflective principal engages in self-assessment and continuous professional growth. They seek feedback, reflect on their leadership practices, and actively pursue opportunities for improvement.

Resilient: A resilient principal remains composed and adaptable in the face of adversity. They demonstrate perseverance and determination, inspiring others to overcome obstacles and bounce back from setbacks.

Respectful: A respectful principal treats all individuals with dignity and courtesy, promoting a culture of respect throughout the school. They value diverse perspectives, encourage inclusivity, and celebrate the contributions of every member of the community.

Student-Centered: A student-centered principal places the needs and well-being of students at the forefront of their decision-making. They advocate for student success, ensuring that policies, programs, and resources are aligned to support student growth and achievement.

Supportive: A supportive principal provides guidance, encouragement, and resources to support the growth and well-being of teachers, staff, and students. They create a nurturing environment that fosters professional development and ensures the success of all individuals within the school community.

Transparent: A transparent principal is open and honest in their communication and decision-making processes. They provide clarity and share information to build trust and maintain transparency within the school community.

Trustworthy: A trustworthy principal builds trust through their reliability and consistency. They keep their commitments, maintain confidentiality, and demonstrate integrity in their actions and decision-making.

Understanding: An understanding principal shows empathy and comprehension towards the needs, challenges, and experiences of students, staff, and parents. They take the time to listen, seek to understand individual circumstances, and offer support and guidance accordingly.

Visible: A visible principal is actively present and engaged within the school community. They make themselves accessible to students, staff, and parents, regularly participating in school events and demonstrating their commitment to the school’s mission.

Visionary: A visionary principal has a clear and inspiring vision for the school’s future, setting ambitious goals and guiding the staff and students towards achieving them.


A good principal is vital for the success of any school, and the impact they have on their community is truly remarkable.

A principal’s effort and dedication can help foster a safe and productive learning space, ensuring that students are supported to reach their fullest potential.

It is essential that principals continue to grow in their own skills and knowledge, leading with example and inspiring others to do the same.

Through a combination of strong leadership and dedication, principals can make a lasting impact on the students, staff, and families within their school.

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  1. As I was reading through “what makes a good principal!” A great example would be Steven Hooke Claymore public school NSW.Mr Hooke I must say fits each every point mentioned on that list but what makes him that even more outstanding is being able to adapt as a principal in a school where it’s a where most of those students are of a lower class families, domestic violence victims, broken families, a majority of those kids come from families that abuse drugs and alcohol and a cummuinty of families living in department of housing.
    There is not one kid or parent in the area that will have a negative feedback, he has made a school be a safe haven for those kids. I have been to many primary schools and have never seen the principal, come out every afternoon and interact with the parents and ensure the kids are getting home safe. His a principal that interacts with the community and community programs… And when families are in need he ensure the schools and all the teachers are there for the support. Which I have never seen been done… I really wish there was so many many principals with that passion for the students and parents….his a great leader for the teachers at the school. Someone that everyone can look up to…

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