Brave Education Leadership
Brave education leadership is not easy. It is often easier to follow the simplest lead, instead of doing a bit more work, figuring out a proper game plan, backed by good research—and then make things happen. That’s the most logical way to bring words to action. Even then, there’s the chance that actions, which look right, are many times formed from too small and limited a viewpoint.
Most leaders feel they’re doing the right things, and for the right purposes, but if they don’t read enough, listen enough, interact enough in the real education world outside their own school walls and district boundaries, how can they be certain the decisions they make are right for now and for the future? Many leaders are stranded in their own district, school, or comfortable place. To improve education leadership, leaders need to want to know more, do more, and interact more—and then be strong enough to take words to action. Again, it is far easier, and safer, to do what you’ve been doing than change to do something that’s different. It’s also far more difficult to change when reported district results seem to indicate nothing is wrong. In that case, staying the same is easier, and moving beyond may not have a chance. We look to leaders to make waves in calm waters.
In a leadership position, working toward goals set schools and district, leaders have to be brave enough, to ask for meetings to discuss new, and additional goals. For instance, if there is a true need for more technology in the district, it is important that leadership wonder what could be done with today’s student and teacher tools in classrooms, and maybe some instructional technology professional development to go with it? And a good leader will go beyond wondering to press the point.
What could be more pressing than preparing students better for the real world, and improving teaching beyond test practice skills, with the right learning tools for this century. To do less, is a disservice to students as well as teachers. In most cases, good leadership, along with educator support can redefine what learning success should look like pretty quickly, and then get to the business of doing it.
The best thing to do is look beyond the walls of schools and district, which requires no spending other than time—and that time will be more than well spent. Leaders should get their staff to do that same, and encourage students to follow that lead in that direction as well. That sort of effort certainly finds its way home to parents, through conversations with their children. Administrators, educators, students, and parents together as a school and district community are a powerful force to rally around a great leader and education cause. You can’t know that support is there without boldly testing the waters for district change as a leader committed to making an education and learning difference.