What does a Vice Principal do?

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  • Written By: Deborah Walker
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2019
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Several important professional standards provide a framework for the duties of an educational administrator such as a vice principal. The vice principal, also known as an assistant principal, promotes a vision of learning that is supported by the entire school community. She is responsible for creating a fair and ethical environment in which students and staff feel safe enough to learn. The assistant principal is entrusted with managing current human and monetary resources as well as determining future needs. Keeping abreast of educational regulations, and possibly working to influence them, may be part of the job, as well.

To create a vision of learning that accepted, in practice, by the school staff, the administrator must understand what educational outcomes are important for learners in a 21st century, pluralistic society. She must know how to build consensus among colleagues, negotiate when necessary, and believe firmly that all students can learn. By speaking at monthly school board meetings, for example, she can keep families informed as to the direction in which she wants the school to move as well as the progress towards that goal.


Safety and motivation of staff and students may fall primarily to the assistant principal. Handling discipline issues fairly, recognizing student and staff accomplishments, monitoring the school's climate, and supervising extra-curricular activities are four job tasks that help to keep the school a place where people want to be. The assistant principal may also take part in staff development presentations on in-service days and help teachers set professional goals for themselves each year. Conducting yearly teacher evaluations may be a part of the job that is shared with the principal. The vice principal should professionally and respectfully provide relevant positive and negative feedback to teachers following their evaluations.

The vice principal must have strong communication skills. Part of the administrator's job may be to write newsletters or school website updates that keep families informed and strengthen community ties. Developing connections to community resources, including businesses and social organizations, may be a shared responsibility between the assistant principal, principal, and guidance counselor.

The day-to-day organization and operation of the school falls to the administration. The assistant principal may work with the principal to develop the school's yearly budget. Along with this, she may be charged with tackling daily, unexpected administrative problems, and seeing that they are resolved quickly and fairly.

Educational administrators may be an agent of change through participation on committees or by contacting and meeting with policy makers to change educational laws. For example, the vice principal may advocate for student legal rights related to privacy at legislative hearings. Influencing broader local or national education policy is a sometimes overlooked, but very important, part of the vice principal's job description.


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Post 2

Most high schools in large counties are as large a small country. So, there have to be a comparable number of vice principals to handle the load. There are also multiple counsellors. In the case of counsellors, often they are divided according to the alphabet. Students are matched up with the counselor that matches the first letter of their last name.

Post 1

Things have certainly changed since I was in school, (which was not that long ago, really). My high school had one principal and one vice principal. That was it. These days, however, my children go to a high school where, there are multiple vice principals. There is still only one head administrator, the principal, but several vice principals and administrators.

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