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Jsl Vol 14-N6

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The Journal of School Leadership is broadening the conversation about schools and leadership and is currently accepting manuscripts. We welcome manuscripts based on cutting-edge research from a wide variety of theoretical perspectives and methodological orientations. The editorial team is particularly interested in working with international authors, authors from traditionally marginalized populations, and in work that is relevant to practitioners around the world. Growing numbers of educators and professors look to the six bimonthly issues to: deal with problems directly related to contemporary school leadership practice teach courses on school leadership and policy use as a quality reference in writing articles about school leadership and improvement.

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Cultural Competence, Educators, and Military Families: Understanding the Military in a Department of Defense Dependents School

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DANETTE KEEGAN
ADRIENNE E. HYLE
VICKI SANDERS

ABSTRACT: Military members have a strong cultural identity, one that distinguishes them from civilians. This qualitative study sought to identify the cultural competencies needed for educators to better understand an American military constituency. Data were obtained through semistructured interviews, collection of documents, and observations of public meetings. The results of this study appropriately extend and support the concept of cultural competency by focusing on a population not ordinarily viewed as a minority culture. Participants identified domains of the concept specific to military culture: duty versus job, moving, deployment, demanding schedules, living in a foreign country, availability of leave and support networks. They expected civilian educators to view the military positively, to be sensitive to the circumstances of their dependents, and to have the communication skills to build educational partnerships.

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The Myth of the Rational Decision Maker: A Framework for Applying and Enhancing Heuristic and Intuitive Decision Making by School Leaders

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STEPHEN H. DAVIS

ABSTRACT: This article takes a critical look at administrative decision making in schools and the extent to which complex decisions conform to normative models and common expectations of rationality. An alternative framework for administrative decision making is presented that is informed, but not driven, by theories of rationality. The framework assumes that as problem complexity increases, human capacity for rational analysis decreases, and the mind searches, instead, for heuristic and intuitive ways to reduce cognitive demands. The article provides a number of practical suggestions for improving administrative decision making that are drawn from my research with 92 public school principals.

There is a prevailing notion in the collective American psyche that the very best leaders are highly rational people. They are thought to be logical, thoughtful, analytical, and accurate thinkers and problem solvers. Our fixations on the attributes of rationality are understandable. After all, we live in a society that values people who get things done, especially those who accomplish complex tasks successfully, make difficult decisions quickly, and solve problems efficiently and accurately. In organizations, such individuals are often rewarded with promotions into high-status positions, awarded generous salary increases, and accorded high levels of professional respect and admiration (Cuban, 2001; Davis & Davis, 2003).

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From Barriers to Breakthroughs: Principals’ Strategies for Overcoming Challenges to Teachers’ Transformational Learning

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ELEANOR DRAGO-SEVERSON
KRISTINA C. PINTO

ABSTRACT: This nationwide qualitative study investigated how 25 school leaders, serving in schools with varying resources, perceive the practices they use to support teacher learning. The study discusses how these leaders understand the human resource challenges they face in supporting teacher learning and highlights their creative responses to these challenges across school contexts. Although the principals experience similar challenges, the challenges manifest themselves differently, and the strategies devised to overcome them are tied to the specific contexts of the leaders’ schools.

It is important for teachers to continually grow and renew themselves. . . . This is not a selfish, personal matter, to be pursued only when “time allows.” On the contrary, it is essential for health-giving teaching. (Finser, 1994, p. 236)

Much has been made of various crises in U.S. schools. In recent years, improving student performance and learning have occupied the foreground of attention, unquestionably the top priority of many school leaders. School principals have the responsibility of helping their teachers grow, though many face multiple obstacles to shaping contexts in which teacher learning can happen. Finser (1994) expresses what recent research verifies—the importance of prioritizing the personal and professional growth of faculty (Darling-Hammond & Sclan, 1996; Fullan, 2001; Fullan & Hargraves, 1992; Lightfoot, 1983). Helping teachers learn supports the development of students (Donaldson, 2001), as reflective practice has been associated with positive student outcomes (Guskey, 1999; York-Barr, Sommers, Ghere, & Montie, 2001). This article focuses on the human resource challenges principals face in facilitating teachers’ transformational learning and their creative strategies for overcoming such challenges. Time is one common challenge, but we argue that challenges vary as much as the contexts in which principals work.

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Why Leadership-Skilled Women Teachers Are Saying “No” to the Principal’s Role: A Matter of Individual Choice or Institutional Constraint?

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KATHLEEN M. BROWN
SUSAN WYNN

ABSTRACT: According to recent data, the pool of principal candidates is shrinking. How is the role perceived and what can school districts do to make it more attractive in recruiting and retaining highly qualified administrators? This open-ended, qualitative study sought to uncover the underlying reasons leadership-skilled women teachers choose to remain in the classroom rather than seek administrative positions. Analysis of the data revealed a complex mix of individual choice and institutional constraint. The participants’ strong sense of personal teaching efficacy, commitment to family, and satisfaction derived from nurturing (and mentoring) their colleagues combined with their negative perception of the principalship contributed to their reasons for saying “no” to the principal’s role.

According to an exploratory study sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), “There is a shortage of qualified candidates for principal vacancies in the United States” (Educational Research Service, 1998, p. 7). According to three independent research studies commissioned by the Wallace Foundation (2003), the difficulty some schools face in attracting a quality principal is not due to a shortage of certified candidates. So, how do we explain this seeming anomaly? Is the supply shortage simply a matter of numbers, level, or location?

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