School improvement efforts rely heavily on quality leadership. Educational leaders are tasked with establishing a collective vision for school improvement and initiating change to spur innovation, ensure student learning, and increase achievement. On July 13th I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. James Strong, from the College of William and Mary, deliver a keynote address at the NJ Department of Education Leadership Institute entitled "Qualities of Effective Principals." Dr. Strong emphasized that the job of a principal, or school leader for that matter, is about making a difference in the lives of children. Leading and teaching is challenging work that requires a high level of understanding and patience.
What do good principals do? The audience at the leadership institute identified what they perceived to be the top elements. These included the following items below where I have added some of my personal thoughts:
Risky, but not too risky:
Manage by walking around:
Cares about students and staff:
Human resource administration:
Communication and community relations: