In the face of state cutbacks and budget cuts, administration positions are also being hit, although not as hard as teaching positions. Rather than make a bold career move into administration, a more prudent strategy is to take on increasing responsibilities and administration functions so that you can slowly evolve into an administration position, should one arise. There are a number of key areas you can focus on today to improve the attractiveness of your candidacy.
Develop business skills
Schools require a broad range of administrative skills. Demand is high for business managers with experience in financial planning, cost cutting and restructuring. Tasks obvious to a business manager such as renegotiating insurance contracts have loosened up funds and allowed previously discontinued programs to be renewed. Many schools are grappling with budgets that are already running over school board limits while school boards are further cutting expense limits.
Improve student performance
Student achievement is a key focus for administrative positions. How can you help raise student performance in state rankings? A good place to start is your own classroom. Demonstrate that you are able to motivate your students to higher levels of performance, and then offer to develop this competency throughout the school.
Volunteer for administrative positions
Volunteering on committees is a good way to become more involved in your school’s administration. As schools face deepening budget cuts, more of these opportunities are available at the school, board and district levels.
Pursue administrative education
Consider pursuing part-time graduate courses in educational administration or educational leadership. Some related education is expected for most administrative positions. If you have a master’s in another area, complementary courses and volunteer committee experience can put you on the right path to an administrative position without having to return to school.
Be prepared to multi-task
Many schools are not replacing administrative positions but instead are restructuring to compensate for the lost position. This often means that the new administrative position you are applying for is actually a combination of two or three jobs that existed in last year’s budget. The ability to show that you can add value in the areas of cost cutting, operational efficiency and/or student achievement will help get your resume noticed and, hopefully, land you an interview. With administrative offices restructuring to improve efficiencies, do your research and be aware of the competencies and functions that have been compromised.
Your administrative experience and education is in high demand in international markets. As a result of the phenomenal growth in demand for teachers in developing markets, a large number of schools are trying to manage unwieldy operations in the face of unprecedented growth. Many ESL schools in China, for example, have grown from dozens to thousands of students over the course of a few months. These schools are often run either by teachers or business people; many require professional education administrators to help them manage and prepare for future growth.