Having a great idea is one thing; executing it is another. However, excellent educational leaders can provide both when it comes to their work.
Ensuring students have access to a quality, comprehensive education that serves all learning styles requires the combination of well-made curricula and educators who are committed to carrying them out. This process starts at the top, with district and school leaders who create an educational strategy and help their colleagues implement it.
A Master of Science in Educational Administration online program from Texas A&M International University positions graduates to be instructional leaders in a variety of fields, including education. Students will examine contemporary research and best practices in order to enhance their abilities in curriculum development, implementation and leadership.
Characteristics of a Good Educational Leader
When implementing curricula or other new systems from the top-down, educational leaders should exemplify the kind of behavior and approach they expect from others. Not only does this set a good example, but it can be affirming for others to see that leaders are putting in the same level of work and effort as themselves.
Many aspects of a school community affect student success. One article from The Edvocate outlines some specific characteristics that good leaders hold, as well as the different ways they can influence the curriculum implementation, teacher investment and community input processes.
- Communication: a clear, inspiring vision that connects with the school community
- Inclusiveness: an awareness of how to accommodate students of all identities
- Authenticity: a strong sense of self and ability to share that self around everyone
- Reflection: an ability to reflect and adapt or grow, particularly in difficult situations
- Discipline: a firm grasp of operational best practices
- Passion: a deep investment in students and school community
- Drive: an ability to carry out long-term goals and enable continuous development
Strategies for Educational Leaders to Positively Impact Their Schools
Build Entire School Communities
Community-building is one of the widest-reaching ways educational leaders affect their schools. Getting parents and caretakers more engaged with their students' school experience helps to reinforce positive outcomes.
Also, as this post on E-School News notes, schools are increasingly composed of students from different "cultural, linguistic, and spiritual backgrounds." Therefore, educational leaders should appreciate and celebrate the diversity of their sectors in order to build stronger communities.
Identify Gaps in Equity and Accessibility
This post from the Principal's Playbook points out that data analysis has become commonplace in the last 10 years. Although the practice has shortcomings, it is also a critical tool for identifying how curriculum and teaching programs are not sufficiently serving specific student populations. Leaders must then work to address and rectify identified inequities as soon as possible, or leaders risk leaving students behind and disrupting the curriculum for all.
Leaders should always strive to lift colleagues and capitalize on their strengths. Helping peers develop professional skills creates an environment with more capable, self-directed employees as well as a culture built on respect. One way to do this is to offer open lines of communication and support and treat all colleagues as assets to the school. When leaders emphasize a person's strengths, they can feel more empowered and enthusiastic in their work.
Keep Sight of Purpose and Priorities
Once the implementation process begins, being adaptable and flexible is essential. Not everything always goes according to plan — especially in education. Still, educational leaders should keep their original purpose and priorities in mind while utilizing effective, inclusive strategies to build strong curricula and communities.
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