School Principal Day Ideas

School Principal’s Day is May 1st every year. It’s a day to celebrate and say thank you to the principals you know, especially the ones who oversee the care of your children. Every year on Principal’s Day, we have an opportunity to show our school principals how much they mean to us. From their tireless dedication to their unwavering support, principals play a crucial role in shaping the success and culture of our schools. Whether it’s with heartfelt thank you cards, silly decorations, or thoughtful gestures, there are countless ways to make Principal’s Day a memorable occasion.

Principal sitting at his desk with his dog.
One day I stopped by my husband’s school with our dog, TeddiBear!

Why Should We Care About Principals?

After all, teachers are the ones who work the hardest at schools. You may be right! Teachers deserve massive amounts of appreciation! There is also a special day to honor principals who try their best to hold everything together.

According to the Learning Policy Institute, the national average tenure of principals was four years, as of 2017, with 35 percent of principals being at their school for less than two years, and only 11 percent of principals being at their school for 10 years or more. There is a lot of speculation about WHY principals don’t stay long in their jobs but I would dare say a big reason they leave is because of the stress they face on a daily basis.

Here’s a Facebook post I wrote when my husband, who is a middle school principal, was struggling back in 2022:

Two days ago, I received this text from my husband, “It is almost noon, and no one has yelled at me! Starting to have withdrawal symptoms.”

I hardly recognized my husband, when I stopped by his work one day last week. His demeanor was different. It was barely 10 AM and he had already been yelled at a few times. As he spoke, his facial expression told me he was about to burst into tears but he vehemently denied that was the case.

Just about every day, people come at my husband in their best thug-like impersonation, in an attempt to intimidate him, to try to force him to change things that are beyond his control, or to push their own agenda. People who SHOULD know better. People who know his line of work. People that want to make him feel small so they can feel big.

So many people are redlining. They are done. They are ready to fight whomever they come across.

When my husband comes home, it’s his ritual to de-stress over making dinner. It’s his time to process his day before he can really say much. Then, he debriefs with us, his family, before sinking into his recliner out of sheer exhaustion.

While sitting in that recliner, he responds to texts, and emails, and may even take a few phone calls before going to bed in anticipation of another 5 AM early up where he starts the process over again. The constant attacks, the disappointments, the negative social media posts.

He cares about his students and staff. He will cry with them. He will fight for them.

He gives and gives and then gives some more. His cup is empty.

Everyone is quick to state what is wrong and, if it’s in his ability, he will make it right but the right isn’t noticed. Instead, they move on to the next wrong, and the next, and the next. Many of which are out of his control.

Fight mode. That’s the look I saw on my husband’s face the day I stopped by his workplace and he was barely recognizable. He is constantly in fight mode. Fighting for what is right. Fighting for his students. Fighting for his co-workers. Fighting to make his school the best it can be.

And yet … it isn’t recognized. He doesn’t need recognition but after two years of fighting through a pandemic, his cup is empty. He needs a glimmer of hope. Hope that things will turn around. Hope that parents will recognize how hard he works for their kids. Hope that someone will check in on him just to ask if he’s okay.

Today he pointed me to a Facebook group that was started to give kudos to staff. I could hear the sigh of relief through his text.

In a time when many are redlining … be the change! Say a kind word, give kudos where it’s due, and speak up with positivity!

Fill the cup of those around you. Notice what is right. Notice what is good. Dwell on what you love.

I challenge you to fill someone's cup this week (even if your own is empty)! Let someone know you notice. You notice the good. You notice what is right.

The Principal’s Wife

As a principal’s wife, I see the struggle and, of course, I’m so happy principals have a day to be celebrated!

School principal at his desk with his kids standing by him.
This picture was taken when my husband took a job as a vice-principal and we had just hung the pictures on the wall!

10 Ways To Celebrate School Principal’s Day

  1. Write A Thank You Card – There’s nothing a principal likes more than a handwritten card from students or parents expressing their gratitude for the hard work and dedication a principal puts in day in and day out. Check out these funny cards for principals.
  2. Create Silly Signs Of Celebration – The fastest way to put a smile on a principal’s face is by putting up silly signs in honor of the principal.
  3. Decorate The Principal’s Office – Put up streamers, hang principal memes, and print funny quotes the principal says to hang on the walls of his/her office so when they walk in the morning of May 1st they are welcomed with a surprise! My husband’s office staff did this for him on his 50th Birthday and it was a fun surprise!
  4. Organize A Surprise Celebration – Decorate the staff room or office area with balloons and streamers and bring in a few treats to honor the principal.
  5. Put Together A Gift Basket – Create a gift basket or box filled with the principal’s favorite snacks, treats, and goodies as a token of appreciation.
  6. Send Kudos – Write an email to the superintendent telling him/her how much you appreciate the principal of your child’s school and cc the principal.
  7. Let The Community Know – Share in your community Facebook pages the reasons why you appreciate your child’s principal.
  8. Buy Coffee – Start the principal’s day off right with a cup of their favorite coffee or a coffee card. Don’t know what they like to drink? Send an email and ask!
  9. Bake Brownies – Most principals prefer store-bought treats but I had to throw this one in there because my principal husband can never pass up a good brownie!
  10. Stay Positive – In a world where the principal is the ‘bad guy’ … stay positive when you hear others talking negatively about a principal or school. You will never know the reasons behind decisions that are made but know principals always have one thing in mind when they make decisions … their students. The success of students is what drives principals to do what they do.
Pictures of a principal in his younger years.
Principal's 50th Birthday. He is standing by his office door that has signs and pictures in celebration of his Birthday.
The head secretary asked me for photos from my husband’s younger years. This was the result!
Funny sayings taped to a principal's cabinets for his 50th Birthday.

It’s important to celebrate the hard work and dedication of our school principals. Whether it’s with a heartfelt thank you card, a silly decoration, or a thoughtful gesture, every effort to recognize them goes a long way. Make this Principal’s Day a special one by showering our principals with love and gratitude for all they do. A little appreciation goes a long way in making our schools a better place for everyone.

School principal at his desk with his son standing by him.
This was my husband’s first vice-principal job. We made it a family affair to move him into his new office!

Hi! I’m Bridget Jo!

I create printables and DIYs to help you organize your life and celebrate special occasions! It’s my mission to inspire you to get creative and find joy in the everyday!

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