Education leadership is the “critical bridge” uniting school-reform efforts, according to this report of The Wallace Foundation’s 2007 national education conference, where more than 400 education experts were on hand to discuss effectively training and supporting school leaders. Principals at the school level, and superinten¬dents at the district level, are uniquely positioned to provide a climate of high expectations, a clear vision for better teaching and learning and the means for everyone in the system—both educators and students—to realize their goals, said conference speakers. With that in mind, states and districts need to create standards that spell out clear expectations for leaders and establish conditions and incentives supporting the ability of leaders to meet those requirements. Equally impor¬tant is that states and districts work together much more closely to create a cohesive leadership system. The report includes highlights from the meeting about how states, districts and university leaders are grappling with the challenges of education leader¬ship improvement, as well as commentary from keynote speakers Stanford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond and Kati Haycock, president of the Education Trust.
Points of Interest
There are virtually no documented instances of troubled schools being turned around without intervention by talented leaders. While other factors within the school also contribute to such change, leadership is the catalyst.
New principals need mentoring: guidance from knowledgeable, trained professionals engaged for a long-enough time to provide real benefits to rising leaders.
While a handful of states have pressured colleges and universities to update their school leadership training programs, many institutions of higher education have moved at a glacial pace to make improvements or have introduced only cosmetic changes.