After reading my mentor, Janet Abercrombie’s, latest posting on teacher meetings: I needed to think about excellence in school leadership.
I am quite appreciative of the many fine and the few poor administrators that I have been able to work with. Each has taught me a great deal. The best have taught me to treat education as a calling. The worst have taught me the true meaning of patience and compassion. The following is a body of thought on what I have learned from the truly great school administrators that I have come across.
Master administrators build relationships. I am a firm believer that education is fostering and maintaining,trusting relationships. Administrators worth their salt are by in large, positive and deservedly secure people. The finest administrators investigate, set goals and then celebrate achievement. The finest are data-driven to a degree. The finest take notes and respond to queries. The finest are people movers. The best administrators do not try to find fault.
The administrator is a role model. There are no two ways about it. The master administrator serves the community. The master administrator takes time to build people through showering praise for quality work. Authority is carefully delegated to teacher leaders and staff. Development and analysis of brain-researched curriculum is on going. Parents are given a voice as well as, an avenue to support the community. Leaders show evidence of transparency, to a degree, in the decision-making process.
On any given day, Principals face frustrated parents, staff and teachers. The best administrators can look past any despair and offer an alternative view. Principals believe in change and that they are an effective change agent. The best principals have a very high opinion of themselves without being obnoxious or overbearing. The finest principals overlook the incredible demands they face and put forth a positive demeanor.
Many parents lose sleep worrying about their children. Some, tragically, do not lose any sleep. Students rightfully deserve a world-class, quality education each day, each lesson. Teachers provide group dynamic challenges unlike any other institution. Support staff needs are diverse and can easily be overlooked. Superintendents need to see tangible evidence of growth. These are all daunting and intimidating factors to consider before one critiques your local school leader.
It is my belief that the finest leaders steer those in their keep toward a shared, achievable goal. Master administrators recruit talented people and inspire them to greatness. They help those in the community find meaning. They are data driven and celebrate achievement. They push great teachers out the door to become school leaders, elsewhere.
They serve others to the extreme.
- If I Were Secretary of Education…(2) (dianeravitch.net)
- Wanted: “Education Smart” Politicians (treehornexpress.wordpress.com)
- Leading Education Website Releases List of 50 Best Books for New Teachers (prnewswire.com)
- On Great Teachers: Dr. Marvin Thompson, ‘Blackboard Wars’ Principal, Tells What To Look For (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Letters: School administrators unpopular (newsday.com)