This is a part of a 3 post collaborative effort between Russ (teacher), myself (building principal), and Matt (central office admin) (And yes, Matt's my brother and Russ is my brother (in-law ... though he's a brother!))
We're planning to lead a session at EdCamp Eastern Iowa on February 16th. Being that we serve in different roles within a school, we would like to have a discussion on what school leadership looks like and what it could/should (in our opinions) look like. Being that I'm a building principal, I want to do a little pre-planning and sharing about my thoughts on school leadership.
In my last post, I wrote about being a collaborative leader as Principal. I wrote that and submitted it to a educational magazine, was kindly rejected, so I posted it on my blog!
Anyway... I feel there needs to be a leadership structure in schools. One of my most important jobs is to be an umbrella for teachers. I want my teachers to be able to focus on what they are good at and paid to do... teach students, facilitate learning, and inspire our youth to pursue their dreams! I should be the one worrying about the budget, dealing with students who are too disruptive for class, and making sure the custodians clean the bathrooms and vacuum the floors. To me, this is a vital role of the Building Principal, these managerial tasks.
Managing the building is just one of the many hats the Building Principal is wearing in our current system. They are also to be the Instructional Leader. I know when I walk down this road, many teacher leaders and instructional coaches will fight for a say... but, in certain schools, especially smaller school districts, resources can't be used on instructional coaches. The role of leading professional development falls upon the building principal.
I do believe that my role as building principal is to be a lead learner. This can be leading professional development, or being an active participant in learning when a not leading PD. I've heard many teachers about their principals say, they haven't taught for 15 years, how can they tell me how to teach. I feel it is my job to stay in the know about teaching. I try to sub for teachers sometimes as well as volunteer to teach a lesson every once in a while. While I don't get to do this as much as I like, it sends a message to my staff that I'm willing and able!
Well, just a start of my thoughts on leadership... more of a validation of what I do, but I believe my role within my school is vital to it's function.