The Importance of Good Leadership

Leadership in the 21st century can be a balancing act.  The superintendent has a tough job to do in trying to lead all of the schools in the district in one direction.  All of this has to be done without the individual leaders focusing on their wants and needs, instead they need to focus on what the group needs.  Trying to get all of the administrators on the same page in a district would not be an easy task.  Principals have their own problems with leadership.  Not only do they need to worry about leading the school in the right direction, while still focusing on what the districts direction is, but they are accountable to the staff, students and parents as well.  In Alberta schools principals are held accountable to the Principal Quality Practice Guideline. In order to meet all seven dimensions to a high level, I believe the leader would need to be able to walk on water. I’m not sure how any one individual could possess all the characteristics and skills necessary to meet all of these standards.  The expectations that are placed on leaders today can sometimes be unattainable.  In order for a leader to meet some of these high expectations proper professional development is needed.   This needs to come directly from the district level in order to build leaders from within.

 The vision held by the superintendent is meant to lead the district in a direction that will improve student learning. In 21st century schools this vision should have a technological focus in order to progress with societal changes.   In order for the schools and district as a whole to be successful, administrators, educators and students need to be willing to follow this vision.  Trying to get all of these groups to buy into this vision is not always an easy thing to do.  The superintendent and principal needs to reassure all involved that they have a role to play and that the vision is a shared, which means they have to have a say in the schools direction.    

 Technology is seen “as a means for professional learning, growth, collaboration and communications”(Super handoutsp.5).  A superintendent needs to be able to see the need for the integration of technology and how that could look in their district.  This message then needs to be passed on to school level administrators.  Not all superintendents possess the necessary vision to see the important role that technology can and will play in education.  In the Empowering the 21st Century Superintendent (n.d.) report they acknowledge that by allowing teachers to take risks and integrate technology it allows them to do their job more effectively.  “Successful ICT implementation is not about equipment or software but about influencing and empowering teachers” (Afshari et. al., 2009, p.244).  The superintendent and principals needs to allow educators to take risks without always focusing so much on accountability.  I’m not saying that being accountable is not important, but if that ends up being the focus, then teachers will not take the risks necessary to improve their pedagogical practices. 

 Leaders play an integral role in the learning environment in the school.  “Information technology will only be successfully implemented in schools if the principal actively supports it, learns as well, provides adequate professional development and supports his/her staff in the process of change”(Wilmore & Bentz, 2000, p.15).  This statement supports the ideas that leaders not only have to support their teachers, but that they also need to be willing to learn themselves.  Professional development programs can allow adminstrators to not only become better teachers, but better leaders as well. 

 References

Afshari, M., Baker, K.A., Luan, W.S., Samah, B.A., & Fooi, F.S. (2009). Technology and school leadership. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 18(2), 235-248.

Alberta Education. (2009). The principal quality practice guideline: Promoting successful school leadership in alberta. Retrieved from http://education.alberta.ca/media/949129/principal-quality-practice-guideline-english-12feb09.pdf

Consortium for School Networking Initiatives (CoSN). (n.d.). Empowering the 21st century superintendent. Retrieved from http://www.cosn.org/Portals/7/docs/Superintendents/COSNSuptToolKit%20FINAL.PDF

Wilmore, D., & Betz, M. (2000). Information technology and schools: The principal’s role. Educational Technology and Society, 3(4), 12-19.

About pjstokes

I like just about all sports...mainly participating in them. I have also recently taken up photography as a hobby (the background pic is one of mine).
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2 Responses to The Importance of Good Leadership

  1. Patrick says:

    The closer to the high stakes test, the less likely the teacher to take a test. School divisions want teachers to change their pedagogy, however the time for transition is far too short as every June there may a be a 3-6-9 or 12 exam staring them in the face. For too long how “good” a teacher is, has been measure by their provincial results. I hope our new Premier follows through on her promise to dismantle the grade 3/g PAT’s and that the grade 9 PATS and Diplomas are not far behind!
    Patrick

  2. Corrine says:

    I believe that solid leadership is integral to the success of 21st education. I enjoyed reflecting on the thoughts you brought forward with regard to bringing district administrators together in a cohesive direction. This has been a focus for the new superintendent of my school district and the positive benefits can easily be identified by members of our team. Thank you for your post!

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