Creating Positive Relationships in Public Schools

Relationships are the heart of public education. Positive relationships among all groups create an energetic and exciting environment and establish a strong foundation for learning.

Parents, staff, students, and even guests describe the environment at Williams/Ledger Elementary, where I serve as principal, as “joy-filled.” We strive to make our school a place where people are welcomed and where kids (and teachers) want to be.

Positive relationships are the key to a joyful environment. They are characterized by:

  1. Open, two-way, communication
  2. Active listening
  3. Quality feedback
  4. Transparency (let people see who you are)
  5. Questions (tackle the tough issues)
  6. Celebrations
  7. Collaboration (work together)
  8. Mutual trust and respect
  9. Giving of oneself (servant leadership)
  10. Personal responsibility for outcomes

It takes effort to build trust within an organization. Open communication, shared values and beliefs, high visibility, and transparency are vital for leaders who are striving to make changes.

Collaborative decision-making and stakeholder buy in are essential components in a public school setting.

Read the full article in the Winter 2017 edition of ATPE News.

Marla Sullivan is in her sixth year as principal at Williams/Ledger Elementary School. This is her 28th year in public education. Mrs. Sullivan holds a bachelor of music education from Baylor University, a master of education from University of Texas at Austin, and her mid-management certification from Tarleton State University.

Trackback URL:


Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.

© The Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) 2021
All Rights Reserved
No part of this website or blog or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the Association of Texas Professional Educators, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. All requests for content sharing or dissemination may be forwarded to the Communications Director, ATPE at