Originally Posted by ballengerb1
One. Ten. Two hundred. If there is no proper name attached, the noun is not capitalized.
We all know that the principal of Brockport High School is Mr. Ballenger.
We all know that Principal Ballenger runs Brockport High School.
If you Google this, you will see I am correct -- e.g. from WHEN SHOULD I CAPITALIZE? - First-Year English FAQs
Capitalize titles when they precede proper names, but not when they follow proper names or are used alone.
Example: Principal Smith, Superintendent Kohler.
Example: Mr. Smith, principal; Mr. Kohler, superintendent
From wiki.answers.com I did get this, so you may be correct regarding a specific man with the proper name understood by both the speaker and listener (who know that person's name) --
Do you capitalize the word principal when used with reference to a school official?
Yes, if you are referencing a specific principal - for instance "Principal Smith", or "the Principal" addressed the assembly. However if you are referring to any principal you would not capitalise, for instance: "where can i find a principal?"
From grammarmudge.com --
The Chicago Manual of Style
says: "Civil, military, religious, and professional titles are capitalized when they immediately precede a personal name and are thus used as part of the name. . . . Titles are not normally lower-cased when following a name or used in place of a name." However, CMoS also allows that exceptions are made "in promotional or other contexts for reasons of courtesy or politics."
The exceptions make the whole question of capitalizing titles very hard to pin down. Differences among style books further complicate matters. There's very strong agreement about capitalizing before the name but less agreement about what to do with titles following a name or in place of a name.