Saturday, October 12, 2019

Leadership That Works

Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work with many different supervisors. The best found a way to inspire those around them. I was fortunate to have three principals. Of them, the one who brought people together to improve the school, who delegated his authority and used his influence made the biggest difference. John Hattie mentions that transformational leadership may be over-rated.

Photo Credit - I took these same photos but had the wrong angle and too far away.
Glad others took pics. You can find my compilation online. 


Moments that Define

One of the defining moments of DG's tenure as principal at Perales Elementary School in Edgewood ISD included when he pulled me out of class. He invited me to his office to get my ideas on tech integration. His interest fueled my desire to learn about technology integration. I worked hard to implement much of what I read in magazines like The Computing Teacher, Learning and Leading with Technology, and built experiences with others that have informed my entire career.

DG never pretended to be a data-driven principal, although student achievement was important. He would empower teachers and a site-based committee, then turn them loose to make changes that worked. Not to mention, we had a great vice-principal, MM, who worked hard on this as well.

Unfortunately, our superintendent at the time decided to push her agenda, Successmaker drill-n-kill tutorial software. In the end, he retired and I left to continue my journey as an edtech advocate and educator.

Was DG a transformational leader? Yes, I believe so. But Hattie's slide above shows the overall effect size of transformational vs instructional leaders. Let's take a closer look at these two slides.

Difference Between The Two

Consider the qualities below for each below....

In case that slide is a bit blurry for you, here are the qualities of each:

Transformational Leadership

    • Inspirational motivation
    • Individualized support
    • Sets direction, vision, group goals, high-performance expectations
    • Instructional support
    • Buffering staff from external demands
    • Fair and equitable staffing
    • Easily accessible
    • High degree of autonomy for the school

Instructional Leadership

    • Classroom observations
    • Interpreting test scores with teachers
    • Focusing on instructional issues
    • Ensuring a coordinated instructional programme
    • Highly visible
    • Communicating high academic standards
    • Ensuring class atmospheres are conducive to learning
So, I guess the challenge is finding a way to be more of an instructional leader.
At a very large high school, the biggest power that the principal will have is the choice of narrative in the school - what are we going to talk about? This is where principals earn their keep, focusing on what really matters. 
If you go to a smaller school, the principal might have a more direct say in what happens, but whichever way, it always comes back to that choice of narrative. -John Hattie

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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