Buffeted during the past 20 years by successive waves of educational
reform, educational administration is more aware today than at
any time in the field’s history of the complexities and challenges of
public education, and of the importance of effective educational leadership
to the enduring good health of that institution (Murphy & Louis,
This chapter seeks to map the contextual terrain facing contemporary educational leaders, noting six key interrelated features of the ever-shifting landscape: the political, the economic, the financial, the accountability, the demographic,
and the staffing terrain.
This chapter consists of two main sections. The first section
reviews what we know about the challenges facing leaders in highly
accountable contexts and the nature of productive responses on their part. This review encompasses both theoretical and empirical literatures,
and most of it is specifically focused on school-level leadership.
While little evidence has been reported about district-level leadership
in accountability-oriented contexts, such leadership appears to be central
to success. The second main section of the chapter reports a case
study of an exemplary district’s efforts to make the most of large-scale
reform initiated in the state of Illinois.
I begin by reviewing the methods traditionally used to define the profession and
its work. I suggest that these methods will not prove successful in
reculturing school leadership and argue for an alternative method to
locate an appropriate portal to the future. In so doing, I retrace the
steps that led to a new perspective, one that is based on the powerful
unifying concepts of social justice, democratic community, and school
improvement. Second, using this alternative way of framing the profession, I present
one framework for recasting the concept of leadership.
Our goal in this paper is not to undertake an exhaustive review of the literature on school improvement, but rather to frame or perhaps reframe this work. Specifically, we stand back from scholarship that falls under the school improvement rubric and develop a conceptual scaffold for thinking about this line of research and its relation to teaching and learning in schools.
What would it mean for democratic community to be the center for educational leadership in schools, and how would this choice re-culture the profession?
Researchers and leaders for social justice,
then, seek to define the theories and practices of leadership that are
vital to creating greater freedom, opportunity, and justice for all citizens—citizens
who, through public education, are better able to participate
in and sustain a free, civil, multicultural, and democratic society.
We begin with a brief historical review describing the evolution of teacher leadership
since the early 1900s. Then we examine teacher research as a form of
teacher leadership. We explore several models of distributive school
leadership. Finally we consider self-managed teams as means of teacher
leadership and substitutes for administrative leadership.
This chapter begins with an identification of how work roles have
changed, and are changing, in the 21st century. This change is represented
primarily by greater complexity in how work is performed. In
light of this change, the remainder of the chapter focuses on the internal
and external complexities that contribute to reshaping the principal’s
In this chapter, we seek answers by examining the discourse of the superintendency to try to determine what has shaped the role previously and what is likely to shape it in the future.
The chapter begins by examining the natural tensions that exist among groups, both lay and professional, that have different local, state, and national perspectives and responsibilities. It then explores the potential of lay volunteers in altering
school culture for the better, and the role of laypeople in formally
defined roles on school boards and advisory councils. The chapter concludes
with a proposal for repositioning lay leadership to better meet
the needs of our increasingly diverse public.
The organizing framework for this chapter is school improvement,
democratic and collaborative community, and social justice and how
educational leadership preparation programs can meet these collective
challenges. Specifically, the authors discuss the needed content and
instructional focus of preparation programs, as well as various preparation
program design elements, such as program structure, field experiences,
and faculty and students.
This chapter discusses the professional development of principals
as it exists and as it might be. We begin by examining the problems
and paradoxes traditionally associated with the professional development
of principals. Next, we propose a new conceptual framework to
enhance the continuous learning of school leaders.
To explore the gendered construction of educational management, two metaphors--mother and visionary--are deconstructed to expose gendered assumptions in these alternative images of leadership.
The author describes his own mixed feelings regarding The American School Superintendent: Leading in an Age of Pressure.
How do values of "learner-centeredness" get
played out in schools? How do leaders work within their schools to
build community? How are norms and structures built and sustained
that keep a school focused on students' lives and their learning? What
does it take to build commitment and motivate teachers to become an
inquiring community? How do leaders think about and act on their
own individual interests and concerns while dealing with the collective
work of running a school? How do they cope with the distractions of
daily problems as they struggle to improve the quality of life and
learning in the school?
To find answers to these questions we held individual and group
interviews with both the current and past school directors, made a series
of observations in their schools, and studied the documents produced by
the schools. These research efforts provided us with an opportunity to
learn not only about issues of leadership, but also about how these
schools were created, and how norms, values, and practices have been
maintained through successions of leadership and variations in style.
Despite the failure of SDM to live up to its hype, there is something intrinsically appealing about the notion that school administration derives its just powers from the consent of the governed, at least the adult governed. At a time when industry has moved toward greater worker participation in management, it seems only fair that teachers, too, have a say in conditions that affect their work lives.
The purpose.of this chapter is to show how teacher leadership
emerges, what teacher leaders do, and how teacher leaders think about
themselves as they take on new roles. Data for the study were collected
through written responses to questions, interviews, observation,
and analysis of documents.
In this chapter I report on Aguilar Elementary School's rather remarkable story,
using numerous quotations taken from taped records of my group
sessions with the faculty. Then I reexamine teacher leadership
through the lens of Aguilar; its case offers fresh insights on the
problems and possibilities for educational change.
In this volume, the authors wrestle with the changing contexts that
surround the work, the roles, and the responsibilities of educational
leaders for the next generation of children and youth. What we have
learned and are learning about children, their families, their teachers,
their schools, their communities, and about how children learn and
how they are taught is important for how we plan to organize and
administer tomorrow's schools. The focus is on how educational
leadership relates to ideological, institutional, and individual transformations
that occur in abundance as society evolves. It is a volume
where the authors audit some dimensions of the human condition
relevant to teaching and learning and extract meaning and significance
for those who expect to lead and administer our schools.
I am interested in how images of loss, belonging, and becoming are
shaping social policy and school reform in late twentieth-century
America. In particular, I want to explore what challenges the collusion
and collision of these three themes place on educational leaders for
tomorrow's schools. Thus, this chapter is organized as follows: (a) a
critical explanation and examination of loss, belonging, and becoming
as central themes in human development and social policy for public
education; (b) a look at the implications of these three themes on how
we govern, administer, and operate public schools; and (c) a
discussion of how recent social policy and school reform responses to
loss, belonging, and becoming relate to the sociohistorical pursuit of
educational equity and excellence.
We believe there are
problems in how schools relate to different family structures, in how
schools fit into diverse communities, in how schools perform their
roles, and in what the proper roles are. Thus this chapter is a critical
essay rather than a comprehensive review of research literature on
families, communities, and their relationships with schools.
Essentially, three questions guide our excursion on the nature and
status of school, family, and community relations.
I. Where did our current conceptions of the family and the
community originate, and how do these idealized concepts relate to
the political, social, and demographic realities of the 1980s and 1990s?
2. What are meaningful indicators of family, community, and
3. What is meant by the terms "school-community relations" and
This chapter is based on the assumption that the relationship
between teachers and principals is at the crux of school restructuring)
Moreover, it is assumed that the notion of "principal" will not
disappear in the immediate future. The American public school
system is too much a conservative social institution to expect a radical
departure from traditional structures of authority and accountability.
However, it is assumed that the concept of educational leadership will
evolve dramatically over the next decade. In other words, tomorrow's
schools will have principals, but the schools will be led in a much
A high school administrator adopts a feminist approach to administration.
This article considers the implications of teacher empowerment for school leadership.
Using faculty recollections of Burton Blatt's tenure as Dean of the School of Education at Syracuse University, this article considers how Blatt was able to have such a powerful impact on his faculty, and what can be learned about the concept of leadership of academic organizations from his legacy.
This chapter is devoted to an explication of how
school principals would promote curriculum work if the metaphor of
teacher as classroom executive were used as a basic guide for
leadership. Research evidence to support the use of this metaphor is
included. The chapter ends with a set of recommendations about how
principal preparation programs might be reconceptualized to make the
use of the classroom executive metaphor more prevalent in schools.
This article cautions that prescriptive announcements for school improvement currently in vogue are not all clearly justified by research on school effectiveness.
The methods of evaluating a teacher's effectiveness are many, yet all assume instructional intentions on the part of the teacher. This paper examines Socrates in order to identify his pedagogical aims and whether his intentions or lack thereof make a difference in explaining why he does what he does.