Magazine article District Administration

How Can Schools Develop Transformational Leaders?

Magazine article District Administration

How Can Schools Develop Transformational Leaders?

Article excerpt

Districts looking for transformational leaders to turn around schools may find more success by rigorously training their own teachers and assistant principals for leadership roles, according to a recent report.

But most districts lack an effective model for identifying, encouraging and developing an internal pool of qualified future leaders, according to a December 2013 leadership survey from Bain & Company, a global management consulting firm that works with businesses, non-profits and governments.

Some 4,200 teachers, assistant principals and principals from 12 districts nationwide were surveyed. Almost 80 percent of the school leaders cited early encouragement from supervisors as the reason they sought leadership positions. But only 33 percent of teachers said their school had ever worked to identify and encourage high-performers to consider leadership roles.

The skills a principal needs to flourish in the demanding job are best developed when personnel are groomed for the job over many years, says survey co-author Chris Bierly, a director at Bain and leader of the company's work in the education industry.

"When you train a person to take on leadership responsibilities, you have the chance to consider those who have thrived, rather than guessing who may adapt," Bierly says. "There is no other way to have a high percentage of truly capable leaders in your school unless you intentionally develop them over time."

Half of the principals surveyed by Bain were hired from outside the district within one month of the first day of school. …

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