Recent research continues to point out the importance of the principal and his or her impact on the achievement of students. It is the principal, more than anyone else, who is in a position to ensure that excellent teaching and learning are part of every classroom. In fact, leadership is second only to teaching among school-related factors as an influence on learning (Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom, and Anderson, 2010) To date we have not found a single case of a school improving its student achievement record in the absence of talented leadership. (University of Minnesota and Toronto(2010)
Further, researchers have determined how difficult the work of a building principal is and the lack of preparation regarding all of the facets of the job. Developing leadership capacity to improve school conditions is difficult work - few educators have the background and experience to do this important work (Fullan, 2001, 2005; Wayman, Midgley & Stringfield, 2006)
When you first got your position as a principal, it didn’t take you long to realize that you needed to build shared leadership with your school family members to create a collaborative culture, ensure that the mission and vision were moving forward to the aspirations you created, and just plain have some help to manage the day to day management grind of the 4 B’s- buildings, buses, boilers, and books! You have worked hard on building shared leadership, now what?
Think back and reflect for a minute, who was it that saw leadership in you? Who was it that said, “I think you should be a principal!” For me, it was my very first principal Elzie LZ Evans who I worked for in Los Angeles Public Schools at Main St. School. He saw leadership in me and how I was able to learn quickly and motivate and influence others. I remember when he called me into his office and shared with me that he wondered if I was considering going back to school to get administrative certification. He thought I would make a great principal! Joy! Rapture! He planted a seed that remained with me until I realized the dream of becoming a building principal! Who have you invited to explore if the greatest job on earth was right for them?
Robert Marzano cited three elements present in a satisfying career:
- The work is challenging and it takes hard work to get better at it.
- The work affects others in a positive way.
- The workplace gives individuals a degree of autonomy to express their creativity.
I think Marzano describes beautifully the work of a principal! But, how can you help teacher-leaders or potential aspiring principals know if this satisfying career is right for them? Guess what? MEMSPA can help! Barb Elson, former Farmington principal and I are facilitating an Aspiring Principals Workshop on Saturday, April 13 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm at the MEMSPA office in Mason!
Have your aspiring principal learners join us for an interactive day-long learning session to develop and inform their thinking and reflect on the influence and impact of the principalship to determine if the journey of becoming a Leading Learner is right for them!
Session outcomes include:
- Exploring exemplary research-based leadership practices.
- Identifying personal core leadership values, beliefs, and assumptions.
- Developing a personal vision of leading and learning.
We hold the workshop on a Saturday so that teachers do not need guest teachers and keep the cost low at $99. Those who attend, besides getting a great day of learning, receive 6 hours of SCHECH’s, some MEMSPA swag, AND membership as an Aspiring Principal of MEMSPA which allows them to get connected and receive the weekly MEMSPA NEWS! This is our first opportunity to help educators explore if the path of the principalship is right for them. We support them during the interview process, assist with their questions regarding their reflection, and assist them in their next steps. You’ve built shared leadership! Now what? Who will you invite to explore the principalship? Who will you give the opportunity to create themselves?