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Standard 1 Essay


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  • 1. THE PRINCIPAL AS A VISIONARY Introduction The principal is stated in Standard 1 to have a personal vision “…for the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop, articulate and implement a shared vision that is supported by the larger organization and the school community. I. Defining ‘Vision’ and ‘Visionary’ The Merriman-Webster Dictionary defines ‘Visionary’ as “able or likely to see visions; disposed to reverie or imagining; of, relating to, or characterized by visions or the power of vision; having or marked by foresight and imagination.” (2009) The work of Bolams and Wieringen (1999) entitled: “Research on Educational Management in Europe” states that the principal from the conception of the idealist thinker is an individual who “moves between the different fields represented by the model. If the principal is visionary he/she will talk about a desired condition for the school, described in terms which inspire, incite enthusiasm and activate the imagination of the listener/reader. The vision creates its own mental image among the receivers of the visionary communication. The vision functions as a power source and thus provides energy.” (Bolams and Wieringen, 1999)
  • 2. II. Avoiding Failure through Understanding the Purpose Additionally stated is that leadership which is ‘goal-oriented’ fails “when a principal – who has ultimate responsibility within the organization – lacks the necessary deep understanding of the purpose.’ (Bolams and Wieringen, 1999) III. Evolution of the Vision Inevitable The work of Lashway (1997) entitled: “Visionary Leadership” states “Many leaders believe vision development is a straightforward task of articulating a statement of beliefs and then implementing it. However, some studies suggest that vision is more of an evolutionary process than a one-time event, a process that requires continuous reflection, action, and reevaluation.” (Lashway, 1997) IV. Visions Do Not Just ‘Happen’ & Visions Can Be ‘Compromised’ The work of Hong (1996) states that visions develop through “purposeful tinkering” and through “…dozens of little experiments” each day which increases the chance that the perception of the ideal will be achieved. Naturally in order to attain a goal that goal must first be conceived or envisioned by the visionary and in this case the school leadership or the principal. While the first logical step is to write down the vision this can be dangerous as reported in the work of Fritz (1996) who states the warning that these written statements all too often turn into “political compromises that trivialize the vision through ‘weak, watered-down, simplistic declarations.’ Moreover, the immediacy of student needs gives K-12 educators a strong bias toward action; extended discussions of
  • 3. philosophy create impatience. Conley and colleagues found a number of schools that began acting on their vision several years before articulating it in writing.” (In: Lashway, 1997) V. Creating Readiness for the Vision One of the most important roles the principal takes on as a visionary in the school is that of assisting the school community in becoming ready for the vision. Too much or too little in the way of discussion can work against the attainment of the vision. The principal’s role in creating a vision for the school begins with creating readiness among staff and this can only be accomplished through clearly articulating the vision to school staff and this may take time in order that they really comprehend the vision and in order that they entertain new models which are necessary in many envisioned school goals. New model creation can be enabled through: (1) Forming study groups; (2) Visiting schools or businesses that have already restructured; or (3) Collecting data that challenge comfortable assumptions.” (Lashway, 1997) The National College for School Leadership (2003) work entitled: “School Leadership: Concepts and Evidence” states that leadership and specifically visionary leadership “…is a process of influence leading to the achievement of desired purposes. Successful leaders develop a vision for their schools based on their personal and professional values. They articulate this vision at every opportunity and influence their staff and other stakeholders to
  • 4. share the vision. The philosophy, structures and activities of the school are geared towards the achievement of this shared vision.” The work of Pellitteri, et al (2006) entitled: “Emotionally Intelligent School Counseling” states that the “visionary, transformative school leadership model is a valuable one, especially if the leader has a definitive view of the big picture goals and objectives of the initiative.” It is important however, as noted in the work of Pellitteri, et al (2006) that the leader should use alternative leadership models in cases where the big picture becomes clouded and should refrain from collaboration in this instance with parents until the leader has once again gained clarity in the vision of the direction that the school should head to attain its goals. Summary and Conclusion Visionary leadership is needed in many of today’s schools because these schools are characterized by a plethora or seemingly insurmountable problems and strenuous challenge in making the provision of education. Because these conditions exist visionary leadership has become critically important in order to articulate and effectuate a vision in and among the school community.
  • 5. Bibliography Bolam, Raymond, Wieringen, Fons van (1999) Waxmann Verlag 1999. Google Books Online available at: Fritz, Robert. quot;Corporate Tides: The Inescapable Laws of Organizational Structure.quot; San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1996. Hong, Laraine K. quot;Surviving School Reform: A Year in the Life of One School.quot; New York: Teachers College Press, 1996. Lashway, Larry (1997) Visionary Leadership. ERIC Digest. Online available at: School Leadership: Concepts and Evidence (2003) Summary Report. National College for School Leadership Online available at: leadership-concepts-and-evidence-summary.pdf Pellitteri, John, et al (2006) Emotionally Intelligent School Counseling Routledge, 2006. Google Books online available at: Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium Standards (2009) Educational Leadership. Online available at: Florida Principal Leadership Standards (2005) SBE Rule 6B-5.0012, Approved April 19, 2005. Online available at: