One: Foundation For Leadership. The principal shall behave
ethically and be knowledgeable about hot to create an environment that
encourages and develops responsibility, ethics, and citizenship, in
self and others, and set the direction for a school community committed
to and focused on learning.
Educational and professional experiences in each of the standards are
important in the development of a well-rounded administrator. The core
of successful application of any of the standards in practice is the
foundation for leadership. Principals must have an understanding of
their own beliefs about how best to approach building a school environment
that supports teacher and student success. These beliefs should have
some degree of transparency in their interactions with staff. Furthermore,
they must have the understanding and ability to inspire this in others.
While I am not
a building administrator, I am experienced in leading at a smaller group
and department level. My internship observations impressed upon me that
leading at the building level is a series of small group and/or individual
level interactions that work together. When this interpersonal level
leadership is effective, then leading the larger group runs more smoothly.
Intentionally focusing on using my leadership philosophy as guiding
principles keeps me sharp. I am wary of a complacency or comfort that
comes with experience, dulling my attention to these issues. One big
part of maintaining active leadership is having someone with whom to
reflect and discuss issues.
that leading a group of teachers, students, and parents involves a complex
balance of relationship, knowledge, accountability, and sacrifice (rolling
up your sleeves and doing what needs to be done – period). Relationships
are a central component to my approach as an educational leader. It
is a core concept in my leadership philosophy and it is evident in my
professional practice. Relationship quality can make or break the environment
in a teacher-student relationship, in a classroom, and in a building
(Pianta, 1999). I have always tried to be aware of how I connect with
other people and how this impacts our working relationship. I try to
know how to approach people, how to communicate with them, how to listen.
These efforts make a difference when we have to handle difficult or
stressful situations. I use a similar style with my students. Over the
years I have noted that when my students believe that I know them, care
about them, and expect excellence from them, they accomplish amazing
more than supportive relationships. The responsibility of knowledge,
accountability, and sacrifice also define the role of an educational
leader. Current knowledge about curriculum, teaching methods, and assessment
are critical to staying on the forefront of the seemingly constant change
in education. Accountability and sacrifice are also core features of
a good foundation for leadership. Admittedly, school leaders are under
enormous pressure to be accountable to their clients – the parents and
involves so much more. Pagano’s The Transparancy Edge proposes
of model of management that applies to educational settings. Nine behaviors
help you explore and develop yourself as a leader. I have concluded
that the strength and influence of the relationships that school leaders
have with others depends on their credibility and accountability to
teachers in small things. Did you follow up on a discipline issue? Did
you call a parent? Did you give teachers professional latitude regarding
some curriculum issue? Do you pitch in and help with student supervision,
with classroom projects? The artifacts and professional experiences
I’ll discuss in the next section manifest these views.
I have worked very deliberately on participating in and initiating professional
activities that help me develop relationship, knowledge, accountability,
and sacrifice. This section will review several ongoing professional
relationships as well as products that I believe display my growth as
a leader. The background or context of each activity or product is described
followed by its application to the performance standard.
LITE – Leadership
in Technology Education
This ongoing program focuses on state-level leadership for Career and
Technology Education (CTE) teachers and administrators. My continued
participation with this group has helped me stay current with issues
related to vocational education at a broad level. Interactions with
other teachers and leaders challenge me to reflect on my own practices.
It clearly links to Standard One in that the group develops and applies
knowledge through the review of federal regulations related to vocational
education, it incorporates diversity training into the development and
implementation of curriculum, and it is a forum for teachers and leaders
to examine their professional practice and to modify it in order to
enhance student learning.
CSC – Collaborative
These school-based quality management groups can be notoriously challenging
to the best of school leaders. Effective leadership is critical to the
impact and significance of the decisions made by these building-based
groups. Knowledge, experience, accountability, and relationship quality
can make or break how decisions are implemented around the building.
Mandates related to staffing, scheduling, school norms and commitments,
testing, teacher practice can be communicated by a leader. However,
as Standard One describes, the responsibility and ethics with which
a decision is implemented has a direct impact on the school environment
and on student learning. My role in this group is primarily that of
a participant. However, leadership takes many forms. I have found that
my professional behavior and relationships with school staff have put
me in the position of leader in numerous situations. I have learned
from watching leaders and acting as a leader that maintaining a positive
school environment that is focused on student learning can be delicate
work. I routinely reflect on the outcome of CSC meetings – sometimes
positive, sometimes frustrating. Actively using knowledge, relationship,
accountability, and sacrifice as a guide helps this process.
PSC – Personnel
This building-based group is comprised of teachers, administrators,
and parents for the purpose of interviewing and hiring new staff. The
work of this group is often a realistic indicator of the health of the
leadership in a building. I have participated in this group as a committee
member as well as the committee leader. Recruiting staff to help with
interviews is sometimes difficult. It takes their time and it requires
attitudes committed to quality for the benefit of the school. I have
endeavored to make this process streamlined, professional, and positive.
As I reflect on the actual time that interviews take, the behavior and
attitudes of the group, and our goal of hiring new staff, I believe
that my approach has been noteworthy. I believe that my colleagues appreciate
the value I place on their time. We scheduled dates well in advance.
This allowed the team to anticipate and plan for interviews rather than
treating them as an afterthought to the day. We use brief, but probing
questions that give us important information about applicants in a short
amount of time. These factors have been discussed within the group,
ultimately acknowledging the importance of a professional environment
and learning community.
These professional activities have really helped me form a ‘big picture’
understanding of major issues related to leading in schools as well
as challenging me to define my personal approach to being prepared as
Pagano, Barbara, & Pagano, Elizabeth (2004). The Transparency
Can Make or Break You in Business. McGraw-Hill: New York.
Pianta, Robert C. (1999). Enhancing Relationships Between Children
Foundation: Washington, D.C.