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Leadership Platform

Introduction

Compiling my experience as a teacher, administrator designee, student in the

administrative program at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), I have been able to

reflect on the important aspects of being a great school leader. These experiences have helped

shape the person I am today and it has allowed me to identify what qualities are most important

as the leader of a school. I believe in creating a positive culture among all stakeholders by

establishing positive relationships with your stakeholders. Having built a positive culture, it is

easier to inspire a shared vision. Kouzes and Posner (2017) believe that too many people think

that the leader’s job is to come up with the vision when the reality is that people want to be

involved in the process. It is important for the team to have a clear picture of the school vision to

put it into practice. It is also important to model the same support and respect that is expected of

staff and students. Creating a positive culture, having a shared vision, and providing support and

respect for all will help create a successful school that will encourage others to join.

Shared Vision

A shared vision, created collaboratively, creates ownership and increases its

implementation. November (2012) states “superintendents and principals must lead the cultural

evolution of education by establishing an expectation that supports self-directed professional

growth and more collaboration among teachers, not just within their school community, but

globally as well” (p.17). It is common for leaders to want to take charge of situations and impose

on others to follow their command. This situation breeds control and power, but negatively

impacts unity and commitment. A shared vision is best created by the current team. November

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(2012) claims, “you can’t command commitment, you have to inspire it. You have to enlist

others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations” (p. 15). Creating the vision of the

school collaboratively promotes acceptance, unity, and commitment to the common goal. When

your team feels like their ideas and values are shared and respected, they will respect you and the

values you have for the school.

Positive Relationships

One way to nurture positive relationships is by being supportive and respectful of all.

Teachers bringing new ideas to leaders displays leadership skills and a desire to want to do

better. It is important for the leader to show respect, support and guidance to shaping that idea

into something bigger and better. Leithwood and Louis (2012) write, “when principals and

teachers share leadership, teachers’ working relationships are stronger and student achievement

is higher” (p.25). It is important to always find ways to inspire teachers. Individual teacher

personalities can be difficult, but taking the time to learn about each staff member is vital to

knowing how to inspire them. Providing constructive feedback in a specific, positive way will

help teachers improve and can guide them to the common goal. Making time for teachers by

visiting classrooms and meeting with each one demonstrates support and respect and helps build

individual connections. Connections with all stakeholders are essential in turning a school

environment into a school family. If the staff sees you hold the same expectations of yourself as

you do of your staff, respect will be gained and the community will get stronger. Kouzes and

Posner (2012) state, “Being a leader requires showing appreciation for people’s contributions

and creating a culture of celebrating the values and victories by creating a spirit of community”

(p.19). Establishing teamwork will foster new ideas and collaboration in making the school a

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better and safer place to learn. Being a supportive, positive, respectful, and helpful leader will

essentially help establish the expectations needed for a positive, safe work environment for all.

Evaluate

Evaluation can improve student performance and is key to the success of a school.

Whitaker (2012) states, “the best leaders never forget that the business of education is

improvement, not perfection” (p.63). The need to evaluate data, teacher performance, student

performance, attendance trends, and behavior is an ongoing process. An effective leader

evaluates what is working and determines what might need restructuring. A leader should be able

to take ownership in failed situations in order to create a plan of improvement. Leaders are the

driving force to create improvement plans for any needed area. Admitting to failing and learning

from it sets the example of accepting failure to learn from it. It is important for me to be able to

address those “failures” as learning experiences to establish a supportive, safe environment. I

will allow teachers to explain themselves rather than immediately “attack” their motives.

Allowing teachers to analyze the situation themselves and encourage alternate solutions creates a

more harmonious dialogue. Encouraging dialogue helps decrease self-protective attitudes and

increases reflection. Success entails learning, and with learning, there is the risk of mistakes. It is

the mistakes and the risks that a leader takes that can foster higher success. All aspects of a

school including, but not limited to, academics, behavior, attendance, and teachers are essential

to evaluate. As important as evaluation in these areas are, it is equally important to look within

oneself to determine areas of improvement as a school leader. Kouzes and Posner state,

“Success does not breed success, researchers conclude; success breeds failure. It is failure that

breads success” (p.181).

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Conclusion

Education is a fine art that will always need tuning. When the school “family” can accept

each other’s mistakes, support them, grow from them, and move forward, it builds a stronger

community. There will always be bumps on the road and we may fall off the wagon, but leaders

need to be that solid rock the school needs. Children need a safe place to learn where the leader

creates a common vision, builds strong and positive relationships, learns from their mistakes and

together builds a better future. Time, commitment, respect, support and passion are some of the

many traits a leader should possess in creating the successful school many would want to be a

part of.

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References

Kouzes, J.M., & Posner, B.Z. (2017). The leadership challenge. How to Make Extraordinary

Things Happen in Organizations. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Leithwood, K., & Louis, K.S. (2012). Linking leadership to student learning. San Francisco, CA:

Jossey-Bass.

November, A. (2012). Who owns the learning? Preparing Students for Success in the Digital

Age. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Whiataker, T. (2012). What great principals do differently. Eighteen Things That Matter Most.

New York, NY: Eye On Education.