Chapter one discussed many views being an effective leader. Principals have a hard job. As the head and face of the school, they are responsible for the success of each and every student enrolled. They have the responsibility for everything that goes on in the school. Their attitude and vision need to be loud and clear. The mission of the school should support the vision statement in its function. According to Green (2010), ” Each principal must understand self, find her or his way, and develop her or his approach, if the hear t, head, and hand of leadership are to come together in the form of successful principalship practice”(p.5). As I reflect on previous leadership experiences, I personally feel that I have a small mixture of all three dimensions of leadership. Most leaders I’ve communicated with are not all head, hands or heart – most are some combination. Even leaders who have all three in seemingly equal measures have some pitfalls to watch out for. The point is not to change who we are fundamentally, but rather to embrace our strengths, shore up our blind spots and adapt our styles to be more effective when leading across a variety of different people and situations.
In the field of Administration, I feel principals are in a unique position to help transform schools, and a strong principal can help change any school into a professional learning community that focuses on improving teaching and learning. Without knowing a goal or purpose, how would a school achieve anything? It is vital to a school’s success that the teachers and administrators work together in developing the school’s mission so that they are all working toward the same goal. In 1994, Sergiovanni noted that “When principals emphasize the building of effective learning and caring communities for teachers within the school, teacher learning improves, and student achievement benefits as a result” (p. 64). Along with that, they must also continue to collaborate on ways to meet their goal and assess along the way if what they are doing is working or not. Taking it one step further, teachers must set targets for their students and share these targets with them so that the students know what they are working towards. If the students have no idea what they are supposed to learn they will never know if they have mastered the goal for the day or how to ask for help.
To be more effective, Principals must have more time for instruction. It seems that management duties prevent principals for devoting more of their time to instruction. Even as we demand higher student achievement from our schools, principals are increasingly under pressure to perform duties that pull them away from instructional leadership. At my previous school, my administration was always pulled away to meetings outside of school at central office. When they returned there parent voicemails and discipline referrals that kept her from completing walkthroughs/observations. When a principal is not visible throughout the school teachers, students, and community notices.