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The First-Year Principal
52 Practical Lessons to Help New Principals Thrive as Conscious Leaders

I wrote this book to help first-year principals navigate their first year as educational leaders. Packed with 52 lessons and supplementary resources, this book is meant to be a reference guide for first-year as well as aspiring principals! Many of the lessons in this book were inspired by my personal leadership journey and have allowed me to grow and appreciate the art and science of effective school administration. It is my hope that this book will be your go-to guide as you navigate your first year as a school leader. 

All the best on your quest for conscious leadership!


Daphne is a superintendent in Northern, Ontario. In her role, she enjoys supporting principals on their leadership journeys. In her coaching, Daphne focuses on certain key pillars: clarity, consciousness, connection, and compassion.


Daphne holds a master's degree in educational leadership, is a certified Conscious Coach, and is the author of Step Up, Step Out: A Girl's Guide to Empowerment, Self-Leadership, and Success.


Daphne was born and raised in Northern Ontario, Canada. Since the birth of her daughter, she’s developed a deep interest in conscious leadership and supports this passion through the FYP Tribe membership.


During her free time, you can find Daphne enjoying time with her husband David and daughter Phoebe.


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Michèle Gagnier,

Aspiring Principal

I wanted to learn about networking and visibility to be able to share my leadership plans, projects, ideas and abilities. Meeting Daphne Wallbridge was a gift! She instantly inspired me during her presentation about leadership and principalship. I wanted to learn more about her journey to become a school principal. She inspired me by saying that when a door closes, another one opens and it is up to me to continue my journey, to seize the opportunities that will come my way. She encouraged me to build an online portfolio, which I did. Daphne mentioned the importance of being seen and use to my advantage a professional social media platform like Twitter, to post my projects and my initiatives as a future educational leader. Daphne, you are a role model and an example of how to persevere. You've helped me improve my performance. I appreciated our meeting for your coaching and the tools you suggested. I'm inspired to continue working hard to reach my goals. Looking forward to more coaching from you eventually.

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Dr. Abimbola Ogundere, Principal

I have worked with Daphne on various platforms dealing in various challenges and gaps and she has always brought to bear her experience and expertise as a seasoned educator and a knowledgeable principal. On the Learning, as I Teach foundation's platform, she has worked with both our teachers in the Right Teacher Academy and our school leaders in the Succeeding At Leading A Learning Community Executive coaching program to enhance their personal leadership skills, their self-mastery and self-efficacy and improved their preparedness to serve effectively as teachers and leaders. Daphne's sessions are characterized with deep insight and fresh perspectives about how educators can remain focused on the core purpose of schools which is to empower and enrich all its members.

Personally and from various feedback from all who have attended her sessions on our platform, Daphne leaves you with the belief that you can become excellent at your job as an educator and the skills to make it happen.

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René Gaudreau, Principal

In the life of a principal, even an experienced one such as myself, there comes a time when you question yourself. Am I being as efficient as I can? What image do I project to others? How can I improve my work-life balance? I always appreciate the opportunity to exchange strategies and request advice [from Daphne] to improve my own skills. Through our conversations, I am able to improve my skills and become a better leader.

Our conversations allow me to reflect on my professional practice and take small steps to improve myself. As a lead learner for my school, I try to have a growth mindset and realize that I don't always have all the answers. My chats with Daphne have allowed me to process my thoughts and experiences and become a better principal.

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