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School Administrator

A number of educational jobs are school administrator jobs, not just the principal and assistant principal. Other types of school administrator jobs explained in this article include heads of guidance, special ed and curriculum coordinators, and more.

When people think about schools, often the first associations that come to mind are teachers and students. But school administrators, the people who oversee and administer schools are important, too. Learn more about the role of school administrator in this article.

Types of School Administrator

Even when people’s attention is turned to the school administrator role, they may simply equate it with the job of the school principal. But there are other roles that follow under the category of school administrator. Here is a run-down of some of the important types of school administrator

• Principal, Headmaster, or Director The different titles all refer to the same person, but one or the other may be used preferentially in public schools, private schools, charter schools, etc. The principal is the school administrator with the greatest authority in a school building or group of schools. Often she or he answers to a Superintendent of Schools, if the school is in a district, to the Board of Education.

The principal’s responsibilities range from overseeing curriculum, new initiatives, discipline, relations between the school and the community, from teacher-parent relationships to coordinating with, for example, adult education programs that use school classrooms after hours.

The principal also handles teacher evaluations, oversees standardized testing, and scheduling of activities on the school site.

• Assistant Principal Although the assistant principal shares the work of administration that the principal is responsible for, exactly how this works may vary from place to place. For example, in some larger-sized high schools, an assistant principal may be assigned to each class (first year, second year, junior, and senior) and focus on that cohort of students. In this case, they might take on responsibility for student attendance and discipline issues.

Assistant principals may also be involved with staff coordination, for the non-faculty school employees, such as custodial, cafeteria, transportation, and grounds workers. Supplies and equipment is another area that might fall to the assistant principal.

• Special Education Coordinator  An administrator in the area of special education would be the person responsible for over seeing all aspects of the special education program in a school. The special education coordinator would both set policy and codify procedures for those carrying out the special education program. This school administrator would also bear responsibility for reviewing and evaluating programs, providing liaison or mediation between teachers and parents if/when necessary, and ensuring program compliance with all applicable laws.

• Curriculum Coordinator The curriculum coordinator is the coordinator for curriculum development. In an area with smaller schools, this might be a district level position, but in a K�"12 school, it could be a position held by someone in the building.

The school administrator charged with curriculum keeps abreast of national and international developments in the realm of curriculum and instruction and provides leadership for developing curriculum within the school. This involves planning, acting as a resource person, and providing support for teachers.

• Head of Guidance The school administrator with this or a similar title is responsible for coordinating the work of multiple school counselors in a building. The head of guidance may serve as a counselor as well as direct the department.

School counselors may provide academic and career guidance as well as personal guidance, or these three areas may be separated. In any case, the head of guidance would provide liaison with other areas of school administration, as well as attend conferences and support staff in such evolving areas as college admissions and the changing face of Career (and) Technical Education (CTE).

• Dean Some schools have another job title for a variety of different types of school administrator: a dean. The dean can be in charge of many different areas. Some schools have a dean who acts as a student advocate or coordinates all aspects of learning support, as an assistant principal in another setting might do. Other roles for a dean include dean of faculty or dean of academics.


Administrative positions require the minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree, and often require a Master’s Degree or even a Doctorate. A request for applicants to have three to five years of experience is not unusual. Special skills such as leadership, communication, and visionary outlook are likely to be valued. School administrators nearly always spend a good part of their day interacting with those who they’re leading and those to whom they report, so teamwork is an essential part of the repertoire.