Outstanding School Administrators: Their Keys to Success

By Frederick C. Wendel; Fred A. Hoke et al. | Go to book overview

Mrs. Green's third-grade students at [a] school in the computer lab using technology to learn a math skill. Each of these pictures is an investment of our precious financial resources in the future of the kids in our district.

An elementary school principal in North Carolina described his role as a principal as follows: "The essence of being a principal is that it is not a position of power or authority but an opportunity to help define and to help refine. It is an opportunity to share a vision and perhaps create a new vision, based on the visions of the many."

A clear vision of educational excellence has to be in place to enable personnel and students to understand their mission and role in the continuing pursuit of excellence," according to a superintendent in one of California's largest districts.

"My role as a school leader is to transmit an overall shared vision centering on the basic belief that all children can learn," related a large-school superintendent in North Carolina. A five-year curriculum plan for the district resulted from this vision.

A high school principal in Kentucky indicated that a vision was important to shape the destiny of the school. "I believe that we can shape the destiny of the school. According to him, "I believe that we can shape the future, rather than allow it to control us. To do this we have to share a vision of what can be and take the necessary risks to be change agents to meet the needs of students for the future."

James H. Fox, Jr. (personal communication, February 5, 1992), superintendent of a large school district in Georgia, expressed, "A shared vision is the key to success. We need to know where we are going and how to know when we get there. People need to understand the direction in which the district is traveling and what benchmarks to look for when parts of that vision are accomplished."

"It all begins with a clear and compelling vision that is shared by all," according to a middle school principal in Florida. "I believe that an effective school administrator must be a visionary, a risk taker, and lead through example."

Dolores A. Ballesteros (personal communication, November 11, 1991), a superintendent from California, said she has been told by colleagues, "You are a visionary who can share that vision with others and get them to follow." She feels that a key to her success has been her vision for a holistic approach to education that has been recognized and appreciated by the community.


SUMMARY

The successful school administrators in our study have no doubts that being a visionary is necessary for effective schools. One after another, school administrators stated that the way to success begins with a vision based on personal beliefs and values. Commiting oneself to that vision and sharing it with others are necessary to further refine and shape the vision into specific goals for the school. Everyone comes to understand where the school is going, that is. what its aims are, and what the school will be like when those aims are reached. Furthermore, putting a vision

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