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Jsl Vol 17-N5

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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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Preparing First-Time Leaders for an Urban Public School District: An Action Research Study of a Collaborative District–University Partnership

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JUANITA CLEAVER SIMMONS
MARGARET GROGAN
STACEY JONES PREIS
KRISTIN MATTHEWS
SHEILA SMITH-ANDERSON
BETTY PORTER WALLS
AUDREY JACKSON

ABSTRACT: This article reports the results for the first cycle of an action research study about a district–university partnership. Two district facilitators and two university facilitators co-constructed a principal preparation program for an inner-city school district to help prepare the next generation of building leaders. Twenty-two students participated in the 15-month nontraditional program. The study found that in preparing first-time school leaders, the most helpful experiences were those that developed self-understanding and readiness for the role change. New instructional techniques and the full-time residency facilitated this learning. It also found that the partnership, though providing new and exciting opportunities to deviate from the traditional preparation model, needed further development.

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Examining the Satisfaction of Educational Leaders and Their Intent to Pursue Career Advancement in Public School Administration

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TRACEY L. CONRAD
VICKI J. ROSSER

ABSTRACT: This statewide study examined selected demographic characteristics, worklife experiences, and personal issues that influence the satisfaction of administrators (assistant principals, principals, assistant superintendents) and their intent to leave their positions and careers or pursue career advancement in public school administration. The results of this study suggest that this group of school administrators is satisfied with their worklife experiences; however, personal issues and individual demographic characteristics have a major influence on their intent to leave their careers and professions or pursue advancement. Moreover, few intend to pursue public school advancement, with the exception of assistant principals, who are the least qualified and experienced but most willing.

The number of vacancies currently created by retiring administrators is compounded by the fact that fewer and fewer certified and potentially qualified individuals are willing to take on the challenges of running a school (Beaudin, Thompson, & Jacobson, 2002; Grogan & Andrews, 2002; Rayfield & Diamontes, 2003; Roza, Celio, Harvey, & Wilson, 2003; Young & Creighton, 2002). Public school administration in general and the superintendency in particular are increasingly demanding jobs that require significant skill and expertise. Moreover, the stress associated with school administration is considerable and is increasing with mandated high-stakes testing, school violence, reform initiatives, pressure from within-school interest groups, and financial constraints (Beaudin et al., 2002; Glass, Bjork, & Brunner, 2000; Young & Creighton, 2002). As a result of administrative retirements and the dearth of willing candidates, it is imperative to examine likely candidates’ affective responses to their worklife experiences and personal issues, through their levels of satisfaction as well as their intentions to either leave their careers and positions or pursue career advancement.

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The Right Kind of Queer: Fit and the Politics of School Leadership

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AUTUMN TOOMS

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to explore the remembered experiences and perspectives of closeted and semicloseted queer school administrators who lived and worked in a community that did not support or embrace sexual diversity. The analysis of data, gathered through semistructured interviews, revealed that these administrators continually search for clues to define the margin of tolerance for queers in their schools while constantly negotiating their identities in order to fit. For participants in this study, the challenge of leading a school community was ultimately a labor of love and fear, given that these professionals enjoy a different and lesser set of civil rights than their nonqueer counterparts because of the sacrifices that the former make to maintain their job security.

Maybe the target nowadays is not to discover who we are, but to refuse who we are.

—Michele Foucault, Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics

There is a great and often overlooked irony regarding the national conversations about social justice issues within educational administration. Although it is currently chic for scholars to discuss social justice as a contextual framework, there is still a palpable discomfort within many circles of our professional fraternity when it comes to thinking, reading, and talking about the struggles of one particular group: queers.1 This article seeks to extend the discussion about the constructs of educational leadership by examining the reflections of closeted and semicloseted queer school administrators.2 The purpose of this research was to understand how these historically marginalized school leaders managed the intersections of their personal and professional identities.

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Turning Around Failing Schools: An Analysis

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COBY V. MEYERS
JOSEPH MURPHY

ABSTRACT: High-stakes testing and accountability implicate failing schools more frequently and more precisely than ever before. Consequently, efforts to turn around these schools have become paramount for educators, policy actors, and community members. Through a synthesis of research on failing schools, this article unpacks the constructs of school failure and turnaround. It also details causes of decline and crisis. Finally, it analyzes current educational strategies intended to turn failing schools into successful ones.

The concept of troubled schools is not new in American public education, but with the advent of and increase in high-stakes testing, the identification of failure and turnaround is become prominent in public education. Turnaround work in education is not without problems, however. Some of these issues are small or simply technical; others are considerably more serious, often throwing the field of educational turnaround work into question.

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