Many beliefs, characteristics, attitudes, and values contribute to the success of school administrators. Perhaps the last word was provided by a high school principal from New York. He viewed success as a goal, a process, and an unattainable point of completion. Nevertheless, the process of striving toward the goal accounts for success along the way. "I believe success is a goal, a process, and it is what I strive for. I'm not there yet. I can see it, but it will and should, for me, remain just out of reach. It is the next application of research to better the students and profession, it is the next at-risk student who stays and graduates, it is the next teacher who takes a risk and grows and the support I give to make that happen."
Now that you have read the comments on the educational philosophy of successful administrators, what conclusions have you drawn? Perhaps their thoughts, values, and insights provided you with inspiration, a desire for introspection about your own beliefs, and enthusiasm to serve your constituents but have not answered some questions, such as "How do I adapt and adopt their ideas into my own administrative and organizational leadership?" Perhaps the answer lies in the example provided by the respondents to Project Success: All considered what they thought contributed to their success and wrote accordingly.
Some wrote extensively; some submitted pithy statements almost jarring in their brevity. They wrote credos about their personal beliefs and values and about the value of holding fast and firm to them. Successful administrators made special mention of the value of public education to the United States.
When they wrote about schooling, particularly about academics, the respondents to Project Success adhered to the necessity of having a vision and of communicating their vision so that other members of the school community would support their vision. They also recognized that their responsibility for education extended beyond the borders of their own districts and sought to improve learning for all students, regardless of their place of residence. Successful administrators are compelled to continue the quest for excellence, to provide instructional autonomy to teachers, and to uphold quality education for all.
Learners, without question, are first priority. Successful administrators put the needs of students first, believe that all children can learn, incorporate learning styles into instruction, serve as advocates for children, and consider the developmental needs of students in curriculum and instruction.
Administrators who are eminently successful seek to create a positive school climate, work collaboratively with others, look for reasonable compromises, and embrace the concept of service to others. In decision making, administrators involve appropriate parties and pay great attention to developing positive interpersonal relations. Their leadership is predicated upon two principles: helping students learn and engaging all members of their administrative units in working toward a common