Principals Who Learn: Asking the Right Questions, Seeking the Best Solutions

Principals Who Learn: Asking the Right Questions, Seeking the Best Solutions

Principals Who Learn: Asking the Right Questions, Seeking the Best Solutions

Principals Who Learn: Asking the Right Questions, Seeking the Best Solutions

Synopsis

As a principal, you know how challenging it is to build a dedicated staff, encourage parental support, help students get excited about learning, and create a working school culture. You know that it takes more than a few years (and surviving a few school events gone awry) to gain the trust of staff, students, and community. And you probably think that once these elements are in place, you'll be able to relax and let your school run like a well-oiled machine, right? Wrong. Even the most successful principals can become stuck in tired routines that inhibit collaboration and shut down opportunities for learning and change.

Excerpt

The way a principal thinks influences every decision he or she makes. The richer and more complex the thinking, the more theory and practice are intertwined. Recent literature on leadership, learning communities, and systems thinking is available to help principals develop their thinking skills. This book describes how a number of practicing principals use these ideas to enrich their thinking and transform their schools.

Our own stories began at different places. Bev Nance began her journey with theory as the principal of a middle school. Through her district's professional development opportunities, she learned about the ideas of Michael Fullan, Fred Kofman, Charlotte Roberts, Mary Scheetz, Peter Senge, and Margaret Wheatley. As she worked to move her school forward, she found their theories helped her understand what was happening around her and inf uenced her practice. The five disciplines of organizational learning served as guideposts for the work with her staff.

Barbara Kohm began her journey with practice as the principal of an elementary school. She and her staff made significant curriculum changes without a clear understanding of the ramifications such change would entail. They needed new ideas and new thinking to help them handle the strong feelings these changes evoked. They found the work of Peter Senge, Margaret Wheatley, Linda Lambert, and Jeff Howard helpful as they moved through a change process that eventually included the ways they made decisions, learned together, and thought about their practice.

BEV'S STORY

In a professional development seminar sponsored by my school district, the assistant superintendent quoted Michael Fullan, β€œThe terms leader and leadership are not synonymous.” At first, every head in the room nodded in agreement, as if that sentence were . . .

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