"Every headmaster and headmistress of Hogwarts has brought something new to the weighty task of governing this historic school, and that is as it should be, for without progress there will be stagnation and decay."
Dolores Umbridge[src]

A Headmaster or Headmistress is the chief administrator of a School of Magic. They make all major decisions regarding the safety and the day-to-day functioning of the school, and have the power to override any decision made by any other authoritative facilitator at the school, with the possible exception of the Board of Governors (and during a brief period in 1996, the "High Inquisitor"), in Hogwarts. A Headmaster also controls the protective enchantments surrounding the school and the ability for certain individuals to enter or exit the grounds at will. The four founders of Hogwarts (Helga Hufflepuff, Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, and Rowena Ravenclaw ) are not considered heads, despite leading the school during their time.

Hogwarts also has a Deputy Headmaster or Deputy Headmistress (depending on gender) that assists the headmaster in his duties. In the event of a headmaster's incapacitation, the deputy headmaster serves as temporary headmaster until the Board of Governors can elect a new, permanent one. There can also be more than one deputy headmaster, as the Carrow siblings served under Severus Snape when Voldemort took over Hogwarts.

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry


Identified Headmasters of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry:

Portrait Headmaster
(term of office or period)
1st Headmaster First Headmaster of Hogwarts
Early 11th century
BrianGagwilde Brian Gagwilde
Heliotrope Wilkins Heliotrope Wilkins


PhyllidaSpore2 Phyllida Spore
c. 1408[2]
Eoessa Edessa Sakndenberg
c. 1503[1]
FytherleyUndercliffe Fytherley Undercliffe
c. 1531[3]
AntoniaCreaseworthy2 Antonia Creaseworthy
c. 1624[3]
Elizabeth Burke full Elizabeth Burke


Vulpus Vulpus


Everard 1 Everard
18th/19th century[5]
VindictusViridian3 Vindictus Viridian
c. 1703[6]
Amberose Amrose Swott
c. 1724[3]
Dilys Derwent
Eupraxia Mole
Professor Quentin Trimble Quentin Trimble


Limebert Limebert


Dexter Fortescue
Basil Fronsac Old Basil Fronsac


Walter Aragon Walter Aragon


MordicusEggOlder Mordicus Egg
Brutus Scrimgeour crop Brutus Scrimgeour
PhineasNBlack Phineas Nigellus Black
Dippet Portrait Armando Dippet
Sometime after 1925 to between 1965 and 1971[8]
Albus Dumbledore (HBP promo) 1 Albus Dumbledore
Between 1965 and 1971 or before[8] to 1997
Suspended in 1993, later reinstated; assumed to have been sacked in 1996 after escaping a Ministry attempt to arrest him, reinstated later that year
Mcgonagall headshot Minerva McGonagall (Acting)
Dolores Umbridge Dolores Umbridge
Though Umbridge was proclaimed headmistress, she was not acknowledged as such by the headmaster's office, which shut her out for the remainder of the year.
Mcgonagall headshot Minerva McGonagall (Acting)
Severus Snape Severus Snape
Mcgonagall headshot Minerva McGonagall
1998 to at least 2020

Unidentified Headmasters

Unknown name and portrait:

Durmstrang Institute

Known Headmasters of Durmstrang Institute:

Portrait Headmaster
(term of office)
Nerida Vulchanova
Harfang Munter
Unidentified Professor
IgorKarkaroff Igor Karkaroff

Beauxbatons Academy of Magic

Known Headmasters of Beauxbatons Academy of Magic:

Portrait Headmaster
(term of office)
Unidentified individual
Maxime Olympe Maxime


Known Headmasters of Castelobruxo:

Portrait Headmaster
(term of office)
Benedita Dourado
(c. 1940s/50s)

Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Known Headmasters of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry:

Isolt Sayre Isolt Sayre
c. 1620s
JamesSteward James Steward
c. 1620s
Agilbert Fontaine

Behind the scenes

Dumbledore's speech at the Great Hall in 1996

Hogwarts' Headmaster Albus Dumbledore stands in front of the students at the Great Hall during the Welcoming Feast in 1996

  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Dumbledore refers to Karkaroff's title as "Highmaster." Pottermore, however, confirms that the title of Headmaster is used at Durmstrang as well.
  • Hogwarts is the only school confirmed to have Deputy headmasters and headmistresses. It's unknown if this position exists in other wizarding schools.
  • Dolores Umbridge was not considered an official Hogwarts Headmistress by most. The headmaster's office did not open to her. Also, Phineas Nigellus Black told Severus Snape that he was the first Headmaster from Slytherin since himself, although Professor Umbridge was also a Slytherin.
  • Phineas Nigellus Black was considered to be the least popular Headmaster of Hogwarts, if one discounts the unofficial Headmistress Umbridge.
  • It's unknown if there can be more than one Hogwarts headmaster at a time, however, a Portrait seen in the Headmaster's Office depicting a couple wizards playing Wizard's Chess together, suggesting that it may be possible. The Carrow sibblings were also both Deputy Headmaster and Headmistress.
  • It is unclear if Headmasters must die in office to get a portrait on the wall[9], or if they must simply not abandon (in the sense of betraying, not simply leaving) their position.[10]
  • When Dumbledore was suspended in 1993 for the second opening of the Chamber of Secrets, Draco Malfoy suggested that Snape apply for Headmaster due to his liking for the teacher at the time. Eventually, Snape indeed became Headmaster, five years after the suggestion, though at that time Draco lost his liking for Severus.
  • In an Alternative Timeline, Dolores Umbridge became Headmistress of Hogwarts after Snape.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film) DVD (Disc 2 - Dumbledore's Office)
  2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) - Chapter 21 (The Pensieve)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Harry Potter Limited Edition - The Paintings of Hogwarts: Masterpieces from the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Sets
  4. This portrait has only appeared in the Headmaster's Office in the opening to the game Harry Potter for Kinect
  5. Assumption based on clothing.
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  7. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
  8. 8.0 8.1 In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 18 (Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs), Remus Lupin says "I was a very small boy when I received the bite...But then Dumbledore became Headmaster, and he was sympathetic." Lupin was attacked shortly before his fifth birthday and visited by Headmaster Dumbledore shortly before his eleventh birthday. This makes the date Dippet left and Dumbledore became Headmaster between March 1965 - March 1971 or before.
  9. 2007 Accio Quote! Bloomsbury Chat: Laura Trego: Was the absence of snapes portrait in the headmasters office in the last scene innocent or deliberate
    J.K. Rowling: It was deliberate. Snape had effectively abandoned his post before dying, so he had not merited inclusion in these august circles..
  10. J.K. Rowling at Carnegie Hall
    Q: Is Severus Snape’s portrait in the headmaster’s office? JKR: Some have been asking why hasn’t the portrait appeared immediately. It doesn’t. The reason is that the perception in the castle itself and everyone who was in the castle, because Snape kept his secret so well was that he abandoned his post. So all the portraits you see in the headmaster’s study are all headmasters and mistresses who died, it’s like British royals. You only get good press if you die in office. Abdication is not acceptable, particularly if you marry and [sic] American. I’m kidding! [laughter] I digress. I know, because I thought this one through, because it was very important to me, I know Harry would have insisted that Snape’s portrait was on that wall, right beside Dumbledore’s. [Applause.]