The Business of School Leadership: New Perspectives on Public School Innovation
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The Business of School Leadership: New Perspectives on Public School Innovation

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Innovative cross-disciplinary professional development programs for school leaders have emerged as a way to provide educators with a new framework for analyzing old challenges as well as new tools......

Innovative cross-disciplinary professional development programs for school leaders have emerged as a way to provide educators with a new framework for analyzing old challenges as well as new tools for tackling old problems. These programs help principals take their leadership practice to the next level by exposing them to perspectives, strategies, skills, tools, concepts and philosophies generally associated with business, not education.


Business and entrepreneurship-focused professional development programs like the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program (REEP) Business Fellowship for School Leaders give educators give educators new tools for problem-solving, management, and strategy.

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  • 1. The Business of School LeadershipNew Perspectives On Public School Innovation
  • 2. “We need to prepare kids for their future, not our past.” -Daniel Pink
  • 3. This memorable quote speaks to a task thatpresents one of the greatest challenges faced by public education today. Namely, how can public education be transformed to better serve the needs of students heading into an increasingly complex, ever-evolving world? Or...
  • 4. How do we turn principals into organizational leaders capable of effecting large-scaletransformation when their training is essentially the same as it was 100 years ago?
  • 5. Innovative cross-disciplinary professionaldevelopment programs for school leaders haveemerged as a way to provide educators with anew framework for analyzing old challenges as well as new tools for tackling old problems.
  • 6. These programs help principals take theirleadership practice to the next level by exposing them to perspectives, strategies, skills, tools, concepts and philosophies generally associated with business, not education.
  • 7. Why is this a good idea?
  • 8. This is a good idea because the job of aprincipal extends well beyond the boundaries of academics. It encompasses management,communications, budgeting, personnel, technical issues, PR, transportation, food, andadministration... In other words, if it’s related tothe school, it goes through the principal’s office.
  • 9. And, yet, while principals tend to be talented educators and good communicators with great interpersonal skills, they also tend to lacktraining in the day-to-day management of large and complex organizational systems. As H.D. Chambers, the superintendent of the Alief ISD, puts it...
  • 10. “We give them keys to amulti-million dollar facility and say good luck.”
  • 11. Business and entrepreneurship-focusedprofessional development programs like the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program (REEP) Business Fellowship for School Leaders giveeducators give educators new tools for problem- solving, management, and strategy.
  • 12. Participants learn business skills like: Needs Assessments Teamwork, Decision- making and Data Analysis Negotiations SWOT Analyses and Accounting and Finance Regression Analyses Problem-solving and Implementation Process Development Strategy and Change Management Structural Group Dynamics and Organizational Operations Behavior Management Communications and Leadership and Marketing Innovation
  • 13. They also gain new insights on leadership and innovation by… Being exposed to new models Becoming energized by and new ways of thinking sharing and trading of ideas Experiencing fundamental Becoming passionate about paradigm shifts and new improving public education insights through innovation Forming networks across Returning to districts to districts and grade-levels share what they’ve learned Gaining a big picture Becoming more open-minded perspective of feeder and taking more professional patterns initiative
  • 14. Houston-area principals who go through theREEP program experience a year-long immersion in ideas and practices outside of their field, which have the potential to have atransformational effect on the world of public education.
  • 15. How? Two ways:New business skills help New perspectives oneducators streamline leadership andadministrative tasks, innovation (as well asoptimize operations, streamlined operations)identify and assess allow school leaders toneeds, solve problems, step back, see the bigand focus on student picture, and focus onlearning. large-scale innovations.
  • 16. “I was putting out fires. What I learned is that other people havedone this before. REEP has given me the framework to help run my school better.” -- Pam Redd, Principal, Tipps ES, Cy-Fair ISD
  • 17. The job of a teacher is not, as it used to be, to serve as a conduit for information. Today, students have almost unlimited access to information.
  • 18. The job of a teacher is to lead students throughexperiences that will allow them to refine that knowledge, to provide context that makes that information meaningful, to guide and inspire students in learning how to think and solveproblems -- to help them make meaning of facts.
  • 19. Leadership and innovation don’t just apply to business. As one participating principal said,“Teachers are leaders, too -- leaders of students.”
  • 20. Business school immersion exposes principals to a different model, in which they learn to see theirwork in a new light, to consider new ways of doingthings, to become more open-minded, and to takemore professional initiative. Principals who receivebusiness and leadership training come to see the advantage of thinking differently...
  • 21. Not only like educators, but like leaders and innovators.
  • 22. RYHT is funding a cohort of Houston-area school leaders to attend the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program (REEP) Business Fellowship for School Leaders.For more information on the REEP program, go to: http://business.rice.edu/reep.aspx