DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Beginning of Program Philosophy


One person with a belief is equal to a force of 99 who have only interests.
-John Stuart Mill 

I believe that there are many facets to effective school leadership.  Effective leaders should have specific attributes, skills, values, and a solid knowledge base as a foundation to build upon and sustain a successful school environment.   In accordance with Michael Fullan's philosophy on educational leadership, I too consider one of the most desirable attributes a leader can afford their school community is authenticity.  An authentic leader knows what they stand for and what they believe in.  Before judging and evaluating others, the leader is their own biggest critic, spending a great amount of time dealing with self-reflection and evaluation, looking at personal values, and is aware of their weaknesses and strengths.  Once leaders have authenticated themselves, they become legitimate, believable and trustworthy. 

Moreover, effective leaders are able to inspire others.  An effective leader has the knowledge and understanding and the specific skills and values to encourage all stakeholders with a goal-oriented long-term vision.  According to Covey, as cited in Cunningham and Cordeiro, "Vision is the fundamental force that drives everything else in our lives.  It empassions us with a sense of unique contribution that's ours to make.  It empowers us to put first things first, compasses ahead of clocks, people ahead of schedules and things" (p.116).  Thus, excellence in school organizations, according to Covey, grows and flourishes out of a commitment to work towards a shared vision.  The leader should be able to communicate their vision clearly and effectively to any audience with conviction and inspiration, while always keeping in mind high expectations for students and staff.  In order to successfully encourage others, a leader should be articulate, possess superior written, presentation, communication, and interpersonal skills and show confidence in implementing their vision.  The effective leader is able to shape the schools' culture around their vision and uses specific steps, resources, and objectives to help facilitate their mission.  As a result, leading with a shared long-term vision empowers not only the leader, but others as well. 


An effective leader should act morally and ethically by creating a trustworthy environment for the entire professional staff, students, and their families.  The overall success of a school depends greatly on the culture of trust established.  It is important for effective leaders to model good behaviors and lead by example.  Tschannen-Moran believes that, "trustworthy leaders lift up the vision, model behavior, provide the coaching, manage the environment, and mediate the breakdown of trust" (page111).  In order to establish a culture of trust, leaders must show care and kindness towards others.  A leader realizes the importance of the culture of trust in the school.  Consequently, the leader mentors others with a constructivist approach, while providing many opportunities for professional development and the sharing of and improvement of best practices.  Leaders do this by being open-minded and by welcoming opposing perspectives, by being honest and fair, by being collaborative during the decision-making process, and by providing ongoing feedback using instructional points and praise points.  Leaders provide staff with a sense of direction.  This belief coincides with Greenleaf's theory of servant leadership.  As Greenleaf states, cited in Jossey-Bass (2007), leaders "give certainty and purpose to others who may have difficulty in achieving it for themselves.  But being successful in providing purpose requires the trust of others" (p.15)  As a result, leaders who exhibit characteristics of integrity, trust, and fairness, are able to gain the commitment and reliance of their staff to work towards a shared vision.  By doing this, leaders have created an environment where members trust, are responsive, and committed to instructional change.


Leaders should not only coach others, but effective leaders are continually looking to grow professionally. They are ambitious to continue their education and build their knowledge base through research and current theories and practices.  Sergiovanni states, as cited in Jossey-Bass (2007), "Schools should not be viewed as ordinary communities but as communities of learners" (p.80).  The administrator continually should model what the rest of the learning community should be doing as well.  Effective educational leaders inquire about best practices, engage in shared inquiry based discussions on current issues in leadership, and take risks to provide the best possible structure for their schools.  Finally, I believe effective leaders should not only have high expectations of their staff and students, but foremost to maintain high expectations of themselves.  Having high expectations for staff and self contributes to the development of the much needed self-efficacy in schools.  According to Bandura (2005), as stated in Hoy and Miskel (2008), "Self-efficacy is a person's judgment about his or her capability to organize and execute a course of action that is required to attain a certain level of performance" (p. 157).  By having high expectations for thyself and others, this fosters a great sense of efficacy, motivation, and capacity within a school.


Lastly, it is my belief that leadership is a collaborative venture.  Though a single leader may have a pivotal and significant role in transformative leadership, the best way to run a school and make positive changes is through shared decision making.  Leaders model meaningful change in their schools when they include the voices, beliefs, and ideas of all stakeholders in the decision-making process.  In this way, the stakeholders find purpose and meaning in their schools.  Effective school leaders build capacity within their schools by cultivating all stakeholders to work towards a common mission.  Effective school leaders listen and respond to their communities needs and in turn, seek out partnerships that promote the growth and success of all students.  Effective school change and transformation occurs when leaders value collaboration.  The very belief that "It takes an entire village to raise a child" is the unifying and fundamental purpose of schools.  As Cunningham and Cordeiro state, "Educational leaders must create conditions for forming meaningful partnerships with families and the plethora of community agencies.  These partnerships have the potential to assist educators and community members in providing services to children so that all will be better able to learn" (p. 106).  Since it is my belief that leadership should be a collaborative venture, communication and collaboration is essential because it shifts the main focus from centering on the school to focusing and centering on the child and their potential for success.


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.