#2 And Feeling Like #1

All of the books, articles, blogs, news clippings, and insights I receive from my doctoral studies are aimed at satisfying my individual desire and ambition to be a number one; each my cohortees want to be Superintendents, Principals, or Directors. But what have these printed materials taught us about being good number twos? What good is being number one when your number twos are inept or worse?

Three years ago I assumed the role of an Assistant Principal. I started this job believing that my primary role was to “assist” my principal in achieving her stated goals, objectives, and mission . I took a private oath to be a great number two so number one could get her job done. By all accounts, I have been an excellent number two; all of my assigned duties and responsibilities are carried out on time, in order, and in a manner that does not offer anyone an opportunity to call my principal ineffective or weak. I take pride in this fact and I remind our staff and students always of my mission. I don’t do a good job solely to gain favor, I do it so as to demonstrate to myself that having a good number two is the only way to be a great number one.

I am reminded of Dr. Ross Danis’ lesson using the comedians and the stage when looking for a job in leadership. His premise was that you have to know who you are and where you will be successful as you look for new opportunities. His lesson is now making more sense to me. I realize that I am a strong number two and that becoming a number one is not so important to me. Maybe I’m not seeing myself as a good number one for the mere fact that I am a great supporter, task completer, and mission accomplisher (all number two jobs). I am reminded of what a friendly Superintendent once said,
“Leaders who do all the work get none done.”

Anyone need a number two out there? We’ll discuss salary when the time is right.


Author: Michael Parent, Ed.D

Father, husband, school administrator in NJ. "Education cures poverty".

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