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Reform System Leadership & Governance


Guiding Principles

  • Effective school and district leadership makes a positive difference in student achievement.
  • Leaders must have authority commensurate with responsibility.
  • Stability of leadership is a critical factor in ensuring success of educational transformation efforts.
  • Investing in leadership development is an effective improvement strategy.
  • Teacher leadership is an important component of a school leadership team.

Key Issue 1

If there is to be effective leadership in the effort to transform schooling, there must be coherence in the alignment of the authority and responsibility in a district. In addition, the Board must be restricted in its activities to only those responsibilities that are related to the Board’s role as the representative body for the community that is served by the board. The Superintendent must have the discretion to lead and manage the district in accordance with the goals that have been set by the Board for the district. Finally, effective leadership must have continuity and not be adversely affected by statutory limits. Without continuity of effective leadership, systemic district improvement is extremely difficult to achieve and maintain.

Recommendation

96.  The role and responsibility of the Superintendent of Education should be clearly defined by a statement from the CABE/CAPSS governance. The authority of the superintendent has to be commensurate with responsibilities.

Key Issue 2

If there is to be effective leadership in the effort to transform schooling to a learner centered system, there can be no ambiguity as to who is responsible for what, and those in leadership positions need to be empowered to meet the responsibilities that they will have. The statutory specifications regarding the position of Superintendent of Education must include the following:

A. The Superintendent answers to the Board of Education.

B. The Board makes decisions regarding policy matters, the annual budget, the hiring, supervision and evaluation of the Superintendent.

C. The Board has a five-year limit on superintendents’ length of contract.

If there is to be effective leadership in the effort to transform schooling, there must be coherence in the alignment of the authority and responsibility in a district. The Superintendent must have the discretion to lead and manage the district in accordance with the goals that have been set by the Board for the district. Finally, effective leadership must have continuity and not be adversely affected by statutory limits. Without continuity of effective leadership, systemic district improvement is extremely difficult to achieve and maintain. In order to be effective leaders and serve their communities to the best of their ability, Board of Education members should undergo CABE-sponsored orientations. The effectiveness of the Board of Education leadership would also be greatly enhanced by the following; (1) a staggered cycle of re-election thereby guaranteeing some consistency and stability; (2) the establishment of a Board of Education that is non-partisan.

Recommendations

97.  Systemic efforts need to be in place for the development of the capacity of the school system and school leaders to lead transformation efforts. For schooling to be transformed, those who lead school systems and schools will have to serve as change agents while at the same time managing all aspects of schooling.

98.  The evaluation of school systems and school leaders needs to be based on their success in leading transformation efforts as well as on their success in growing student outcomes. Leaders will be unlikely to lead transformation efforts unless their performance is based in large part on how well they meet the responsibility of transforming schools and school systems.

99.  When principals and teachers share leadership, teachers’ working relationships are stronger and student achievement is higher. Schools and districts should support both formal and informal leadership positions through a variety of incentives and professional learning opportunities.

100.  Effective school and district leadership makes a positive difference in student achievement. If there is to be effective leadership in a learner-centered education system, there can be no ambiguity about who is responsible for what. Leaders must have authority commensurate with their responsibilities.

101.  In a transformed system of education, the state has an important role to play. It must define the goals for the entire system, provide the technical assistance necessary, and hold districts accountable for meeting those goals. The state must also create polices that ensure the equitable distribution of human and financial resources to guarantee that all students have the opportunity to meet the goals set by the state.