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Philosophy of leadership 6


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Philosophy of leadership 6

  1. 1. Philosophy of Leadership 6 JS<br />Davis & Leon (2010) “In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, leaders of complex organizations like schools do one of two things, they move forward or they fall behind. The No Child Left Behind Act has raised the expectation of public education. America’s public schools are required to increase academic achievement for all students. School effectiveness, school climate, and school achievement are greatly influenced by the quality of school leadership guiding student learning.” Ultimately the goal of all K-12 public schools is to prepare students to be competitive in a global society. Accountability of student learning at the building level and in the schools belongs solely to the principal. In an effort to provide an adequate education to students, the principal oversees every aspect of school-wide operations. Successful schools have knowledgeable leadership well-informed in all area of school organization and instruction (Quinn, 2003). Strong leadership is a distinctive characteristic of thriving schools (Whitaker, 2010). <br />“Effective school principals show successful school leaders influence student achievement through two important pathways; the support and development of effective teachers and the implementation of effective organizational processes. This consensus is increasingly reflected in preparation and licensing requirements. The professional practice of school leaders established in 1996 by the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC), are six standards providing a set of common expectations for the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of school leaders grounded in principles of powerful teaching and learning” (Davidson, Hammond, LaPoint, Meyerson, 2005). Standard 1: A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a vision of learning that is shared and supported by the school community; Standard 2: A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth; Standard 3: A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by ensuring management of the organization, operations, and resources for a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment; Standard 4: A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by collaborating with families and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources; Standard 5: A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by acting with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner; Standard 6: A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by understanding, responding to, and influencing the larger political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context. Murphy (2008) identifies the ISSLC Standards as the foundation of strong school leadership the blueprint for school reform in the United States.<br />As identified by the ISLLC standards the roles and responsibilities of a principal are very demanding, often overwhelming. Malone & Caddell (2000) the principal is expected to be a manager, instructional leader, motivator, psychologist and public relations expert. “Duties also include curriculum coordinator, transportation manager, nurse, personnel director, disciplinarian, conflict resolution specialist, and social worker. As building level administrators several decisions are made each day with little room for error adding to the demands of the position. To alleviate stress, “there are several administrative strategies principals can implement to reduce work load and improve program supervision; time management techniques, clear delineation roles, visible leadership, prioritization, and delegate responsibility to skilled staff.” (Quinn, 2003) At times the work load will appear to be relentless. Each day working through critical, spontaneous decisions ensuring ethical standards and school policy guidelines are followed. Principals must demonstrate a wide range of conceptual and practical knowledge. Being a principal is a rewarding position; however, special individuals with an innate passion for student achievement are suitable for the task. <br />It would be impossible to maintain operations of a school without tending to the day to day functions. However, educating students is the primary objective for all learning institutions. Effective principals are valuable instructional leaders, performing at high levels as a resource provider, an instructional resource, communicator, and consistently visible throughout the education process. Being a resource provider; the teachers in the schools are its greatest resource, and they must be acknowledged for exemplary teaching and encouraged to share with others. The principal must know the strengths and weakness of the teachers and show genuine concern for their health, welfare, and professional growth. This caring approach creates a faculty willing to take risks and approach change positively. Being an instructional resource; the principal identifies good teaching and provides feedback that promotes professional growth. Being a communicator; the principal must communicate to the staff essential beliefs that all children can learn and experience success, success builds upon success, and the school is capable for facilitating student success; Being a visible presence in day to day activities, principals model the desired behavior of the schools mission and vision. Establishing a school culture of learning that is effectively communicated will contribute to an increase in academic achievement (Kinney, 2009).<br />Valenti (2010) identifies five essential qualities that all successful leaders must possess. Courage is the fortitude to overcome obstacles, do what has to be done, and stand firm to do the right thing. Confidence displayed by unwavering belief that you are capable of accomplishing any task you but your mind too, and persistence. You have to believe in yourself in order for others to believe in you as well. Concentration is a quality that provides focus, and persistence. Being passionate and committed to a cause, passion inspires others to become involved. Values are guiding principles, standards, and morals, always make the ethical choice. Dufrense & McKenzie(2009) “Becoming an ethical leader requires a personal journey toward integrity and public commitment to a common good. Claiming core values, finding a personal voice, developing a vision, and consciously aligning one’s attitude and beliefs with ones actions and behaviors. Without a set of values, action lacks direction and focus” Forming an individual personal belief system is important, but to truly be an ethical leader, individual values must be integrated with other organization member to collectively work toward the common good of the school (Dufresne & McKenzie, 2009). Leadership requires very skilled people with a distinct set of qualities. As stated by Valenti (2010), great leaders must have five essential qualities.<br />Establishing an atmosphere that fosters a shared vision inspires the actions of the organization. The vision is consistently articulated, used as a reference guide for all decisions made for instruction (Reichstetter, 2006). “There is no more powerful engine driving an organization, than an attractive, worthwhile, and achievable vision of the future, widely, shared. Leadership that integrates a shared vision and ethical decision making promotes an increased level of cohesiveness among all stakeholders. Leadership guided by a shared vision encourages a sense of purpose, joy, and significance toward a common goal. Great leaders inspire the others. Shared values are developed into a plan of action. Most importantly when the community, parents, teachers, administration, and students collaborate, academic achievement increases. <br />Being informed about best practices of school leadership will contribute to student success. “Holding to the philosophy” “My first duty is to the ship” or “My first duty is to the school. School leaders must reflect upon the effect their decisions will have on the school community as a whole. Leaders must not give into special interest, friendships, self-interest, or any other force that puts pressure on or them to make decisions that conflict with what is best for the school. A school leaders whose first duty is to the ship keeps this philosophy in the forefront when making decisions pertaining to personnel, discipline, crisis management, communication, curriculum, instruction, parent involvement, and professional development” (Tyson, 2006). Always being mindful of what is best for student learning.<br />Unfortunately the American public school system is failing to adequately prepare students for life after secondary education. The No Child Left Behind Act (2001) is guiding the school reform effort to prepare Americas [America’s] public schools. The K-12 schools are not doing what is best for kids. Across the country school improvement is inevitable. Our schools face many challenges that contribute faltering student success. Societal problems hindering our students are drug and violence, teen pregnancy, inner-city poverty, and high dropout rates. All issues that contribute to the achievement gap our nation’s schools (Davis & Leon). Unfortunately African-American students represent the large majority of students most affected by inadequate education. Currently the demographics of my current school of employment reflect a majority African-American student population with a high percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch. Effective leadership is critical to dramatically change trends in our nation’s public schools. As an administrator changing school culture would be a primary focus. The school environment can encourage or negatively affect academic achievement among minority students. A cohesive environment has a positive effect on African-American students (Holland,2009). “Creating a safe and inclusive school that inspires learning is chief among all challenges facing a principal. It requires an exceptional school leader to keep these important goals in sight (Wimberly, 2002).<br />Principals are faced with many challenges. Overseeing the day to day school operations will keeping a laser light focus on student academic success is not an easy task. Success in leadership is contingent upon being an effective communicator. Human Relations is 95 percent of the position. Using the ISLLC standards as foundation, implementing best practices for student body, being abreast of all aspects of school operations, being visible, and always making ethical choices are factors that will positively affect student achievement.<br />