Monday, July 11, 2011

Characteristics of Great School Leaders

About a month ago there was an interesting blog started on the AASA Linked-In connection on "What are some of the characteristics that great school leaders possess?". I was taken with the thread of comments that followed but one struck me as outstanding and a model that we should all adhere to in our lives as educational leaders. The following comment was submitted by Dr. Diane Hatchett, an Assistant Middle School Principal from Owensboro, Kentucky:

I believe that great school leaders possess a sense of urgency and with-it-ness that contributes to their ability to motivate others to do great things. They take ownership for their actions, while maintaining accountabilty and knowledge of best practices in the areas of teaching and learning. Notably, they listen to the stakeholders, invite others to collaborate and share in the decision-making process. In my opinion, these leaders have vision, clarity, openess, visibility and high expectations for themselves and those around them. 

Great school leaders
utilize data to make informed decisions. They are not afraid to admit when they are wrong. They do not pretend to have all the answers. They ask questions and consult experts. They set goals, monitor progress and celebrate achievements. These leaders give others pat's on the back. They create a positive learning environment. These individuals are aware of their strengths and weakenesses and address them accordingly. They give credit where it is due. They share the joys and the sorrows. They never give up. The greater the obstacle, the harder they fight to overcome it. They look for win-win solutions.

Ultimately, leading by word, deed and action. Leaders such as these are both thinkers and doers who bring out the best in those around them. Great school leaders are effective communicators.They are able to speak the lanquage of students, faculty, staff and the community at large. They engage in partnerships. Great school leaders are never left behind. They utilize technology to captivate 21st century students. They are on the cutting, creative, innovative and willing to take risk. Above all great school leaders put students first."

I love the model that Dr. Hatchett describes, and I offer it to others around the world that seek to be invested in the educational lives of their students and their faculty. I hope it inspires others as we prepare for the 2011-12 school year.