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JSL Vol 23-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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Talking Race: Facilitating Critical Conversations in Educational Leadership Preparation Programs

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BRADLEY W. CARPENTER
SARAH DIEM

ABSTRACT: In the field of education, critical conversations focusing on race and race relations are of primary importance given the continued inequities within our society. Statistically, public schools continue to be racially and socioeconomically separate and unequal. In our continued efforts to address such inequities, this study examines the ways in which professors plan for and facilitate conversations focused on race and race-related issues within educational leadership preparation programs. Findings highlight the importance of professors planning for and executing race-related conversations within the classroom. Results also indicate that while a number of informal and formal barriers may prevent professors within educational leadership preparation programs from providing the types of experiences necessary to prepare leaders of diverse communities, professors are willing to challenge such barriers, thus providing students with the educational experiences necessary to realize their potential as leaders in such communities.

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Learning and Leading for Growth: Preparing Leaders to Support Adult Development in Our Schools

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ELEANOR DRAGO-SEVERSON
JESSICA BLUM-DESTEFANO
ANILA ASGHAR

ABSTRACT: Currently, scholars and practitioners seek to improve leadership programs so that educational leaders can more effectively support adult development—especially since it is connected to improved student achievement. Interview findings presented here stem from a larger mixed methods study. This research investigated how a university course on leadership for adult development influenced participating leaders’ thinking and on-the-ground practices years after course completion. Findings describe students’ reported course learnings, ways that they translated learnings to practice, and obstacles that they still encounter. This investigation offers insight into how leadership coursework can help leaders support adult development in schools and build systemic and school structures that would better enable them to build capacity.

Leadership today places implicit and explicit demands on leaders, requiring them to think more complexly to support the children and adults in their schools—which can serve as true learning centers for all participants (Capper, Theoharis, & Sebastian, 2006; Jacobson & Bezzina, 2008; Kegan & Lahey, 2009; Murphy, 2002, 2006; Normore, 2008; Peterson, 2002; Shoho, Barnett, & Tooms, 2010; Wagner et al., 2006). Helping practicing and aspiring leaders to support their own and other adults’ development and learning has become a central mission of leadership preparation programs. In other words, we must help leaders build their own and other adults’ internal capacities (Ackerman & Maslin-Ostrowski, 2004; Elmore, 2004; Kegan & Lahey, 2009; Normore, 2008). While this is important for its own sake, given the complexities of leading today, it is also essential, since we know that supporting adult learning is directly and positively linked to increasing student achievement (Guskey, 1999; Kaser & Halbert, 2009). In this article, when we use the term adult learning, we are referring to all educators in schools and school systems.

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The Effects of Transformational Leadership and the Sense of Calling on Job Burnout Among Special Education Teachers

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TAO GONG
LAURIE ZIMMERLI
HARRY E. HOFFER

ABSTRACT: This article examines the effects of transformational leadership of supervisors and the sense of calling on job burnout among special education teachers. A total of 256 special education teachers completed the Maslach Burn-out Inventory and rated their supervisors on the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire. The results reveal that transformational leadership was negatively related to emotional exhaustion and depersonalization and positively related to personal accomplishment. Moreover, the present study indicates that the relationship between transformational leadership and teachers’ burnout was mediated by the sense of calling. This finding suggests that transformational leadership indirectly affects job burnout by developing a sense of calling in followers or helping them find meaning and purpose in their experiences through transformational leadership behaviors, which can ultimately protect followers from being exposed to emotional exhaustion and depersonalization and enhance the feeling of personal accomplishment.

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Race Specialists: What a Black Administrator Ought to Be and Do

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D. CHANELE MOORE

ABSTRACT: Using qualitative analysis from 22 semistructured interviews, this article explores how Black women principals and assistant principals experience educational administration with attention to issues of race at work in suburban school settings. Findings suggest that because they may be perceived as race tokens by White educators, Black women administrators are expected to be experts on race in schools. This construction, which I refer to as playing the race specialist , highlights a tension among Black women administrators around expectations to focus only on Black students rather than all students, regardless of race. The findings suggest that playing the race specialist role presents obstacles for Black women and highlights some limitations in schools’ ability to meet the needs of diverse student populations.

Desegregation in the last 50 years of the post– Brown v. Board of Education era has opened up new roles for Black educators in desegregated school administrations. Approximately 11% of all public school principals are Black (National Center for Education Statistics, 2010). What do we know about this small group of educators? Scholars have documented how race shapes educational administration in terms of leadership preparation programs (Boske, 2010; Brown, 2005; Gates, Ringel, Santibañez, Ross, & Chung, 2003; Rusch, 2004), recruitment and retention (L. Foster, 2004), attaining a principalship (Brown, 2005; McCray, Wright, & Beachum, 2007; Tillman, 2004b; Valverde, 2003), and career advancement (Byrd-Blake, 2003). This body of literature has advanced our knowledge about the small population of Black educators; however, these studies have focused mainly on Black educators in urban schools.

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Character in Action: A Case of Authentic Educational Leadership That Advanced Equity and Excellence

ePub

KAREN STANSBERRY BEARD

ABSTRACT: The third pillar of No Child Left Behind emphasizes determining which educational programs and practices have been proven effective through rigorous scientific research. This study addressed Davis, Darling-Hammond, LaPointe, and Meyerson’s (2005) call for a “need for additional research to determine the impact and relative importance of leadership in such key areas as curriculum, assessment, and adaptation to local contexts” (p. 1). Through the lens of authentic leadership, as defined by Avolio and colleagues (Avolio, 2007; Avolio, Gardner, & Walumbwa, 2007; Avolio, Gardner, Walumbwa, Luthans, & May, 2004; Avolio & Luthans, 2006), the decisions made by a deputy superintendent to increase achievement gains and close the achievement gap in her large urban district were examined. Given the relevance and importance of authentic leaders who, as Darling-Hammond, LaPointe, Meyerson, and Orr (2007a) determined, “understand instruction and can develop the capacities for teachers and of schools are key to improving educational outcomes for all students” (p. 1), this study seemed timely. Reform efforts call for maintaining a strong commitment to accountability and flexibility for states and districts, with the assurance that “every classroom in every school is a place of high expectations and high performance” (Duncan, 2011, p.1). As states increasingly request waivers from key provisions of No Child Left Behind, committed, focused, authentic character in action is critical to the goal of closing gaps in achievement and increasing student achievement for all students.

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Understanding Schools as High-Reliability Organizations: An Exploratory Examination of Teachers’ and School Leaders’ Perceptions of Success

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JULI A. LORTON
G. THOMAS BELLAMY
ANNE REECE
JILL CARLSON

ABSTRACT: Drawing on research on high-reliability organizations, this interview-based qualitative case study employs four characteristics of such organizations as a lens for analyzing the operations of one very successful K–5 public school. Results suggest that the school had processes similar to those characteristic of high-reliability organizations: a commitment to a “dual bottom line” that clarifies what to achieve and what to avoid; reliance on “skeptical standardization” to bring consistency to the school’s instruction; simultaneous use of “constrained improvisation” that empowered teaches to adapt standard procedures in response to student learning difficulties; and strategies for combining standardized and improvisational strategies.

Failure in some organizations can lead to consequences so catastrophic that they are expected to operate completely without failure, even when confronted with uncertain and volatile circumstances. For example, offshore oil drilling, air traffic control, nuclear power generation, and a range of other organizations on which modern society depends all seek to work without error, and significant harm can result when they do not. Studies of organizations that meet this challenge successfully, called high-reliability organizations (HROs), show distinct ways of organizing that are designed to avoid, quickly identify, contain, and resolve emerging problems that could lead to failure (Roberts, 1990; Weick & Sutcliffe, 2007).

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