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Jsl Vol 7-N2

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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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5 Articles

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Leadership in Decentralized Schools

ePub

JEAN MADSEN

ABSTRACT: This article reports on the findings of a study that examined the principals’ leadership in three private schools and its implications for decentralized public schools. With the increase of charter and privatized managed schools, principals will need to redefine their leadership styles. Since private schools are decentralized, these principals offer another perspective in how to establish a collective vision, create an environment for risk taking, facilitate participants to participate in long-range planning, and build a consensus among school members.

Public school decentralization has increased the involvement of multiple constituencies in the governance of schools. Engaging parents and teachers in this decision-making process requires principals to articulate a common vision and to foster a consensus among these groups (Leithwood, 1994). The ideal decentralized school becomes a community of learners where the emphasis is not on the principal’s expertise and authority (Sergiovanni, 1994). While the literature calls for leadership changes, redefining the principal’s authority is still unresolved. Since private schools are decentralized and self-governed, these settings may offer some insights into the type of leadership that exists within these schools (Grace, 1995). This article reports on the findings of a study that examined the principals’ leadership in three private schools and possible implications for decentralized public schools.

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Working Through the “Riddle of the Heart”: Perspectives of Women Superintendents

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C. CRYSS BRUNNER

ABSTRACT: Advice from successful women superintendents is useful for other women aspiring to the position or wishing greater success while in the position. The purpose of this non-traditional paper is to share such advice in a way that is useful to those who want or need it. Toward that end, this paper presents the results of a qualitative study that is focused on specific methods for success that were gathered in interviews with women superintendents. Interpretations that cut across the narratives are expressed through the metaphoric framework provided by Carlos Castaneda's (1981, 1987) principles of power that govern the riddle of the heart. Rather than a typical conclusion, the paper ends with the results experienced after practicing the principles governing the riddle of the heart and how these results can be found in the practice of the women superintendents in the study.

It is a case of choosing your wars carefully and staying out of battles.

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Autobiographical Stories of Rites of Passage of Caucasian and African-American Female Doctoral Students in Educational Administration

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JOAN POLINER SHAPIRO1,*
MARGARET BRIGGS-KENNEY2
ROCHELLE W. JAMES ROBINSON3
PAMELA M. DEJARNETIE4

ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on the autobiographical stories of one Caucasian and three African-American female doctoral students during their rites of passage in departments of educational administration. A rite of passage has been defined as the student’s journey toward the completion of the dissertation. While not generalizable, the four stories offer different perspectives and experiences of nontraditional doctoral students and may provide new insights for those who advise and teach diverse graduate students.

We learn from stories. More important, we come to understand—ourselves, others and even the subjects we teach and learn. (Witherell and Noddings, 1991, p. 279)

Our stories, those of one Caucasian and three African-American female nontraditional doctoral students, during our rites of passage in departments of educational administration, are told and discussed herein. For the purposes of this article, we created a stipulative definition for a rite of passage that includes a student’s journey through the doctoral process to the period immediately following the completion of the dissertation. We also created a category called nontraditional doctoral students, containing those who are dissimilar from the majority because of their gender, race, social class, age, or other variables of difference.

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School Architecture as a Subject of Inquiry

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CYNTHIA L. ULINE1

ABSTRACT: The intention of this article is to propose the aesthetic dimension of school design as a valid interest for school leaders and an important subject of inquiry for those who generate the research which informs them. John Dewey’s ideas about aesthetics are presented as a philosophical foundation while his methods of active reflection provide the strategy for implementation. The article identifies opportunities for reflective administrative practice contained within the events of renovating or building a school. It also suggests foci for future research into community and the physical spaces they create for learning.

Building schools is important business and school administrators largely shoulder the responsibility. They are held accountable for the quality of decisions and manifest results. Dissatisfied teachers and disgruntled taxpayers will direct their complaints to the persons in charge, and superintendents and building principals remain on site, long after architects and general contractors have moved on.

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Ethical Administration: An Oxymoron?

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KELLY McKERROW1

ABSTRACT: This article argues that education is a fundamentally moral enterprise and that educational administration needs to change in order to reflect ethics at its core, not at its periphery. It suggests that traditional educational administration is informed by the constructs of power and leadership and that it has developed a generalized knowledge-base on modest theoretical grounds. Together these elements preclude development of educational administration as an ethical enterprise by dominating the discourse and inhibiting the dialogue necessary for ethical decision making. The question of whether or not ethical decision making can take place within an organization is explored. Recommendations for curricular changes in educational administration programs are advanced with regard to putting ethics at the core of the curriculum instead of training in idiosyncratic particulars.

Is it possible that at the heart of educational dilemmas is the inability to reconcile amorality? It is time to rethink educational administration; to admit that it is not built upon a solid foundation of empirical research, and that perhaps it should not be. Educational administration is informed by the construct leadership, which has guided the beliefs and values of those engaged in administrative theory and practice. More importantly, this focus on leadership and the power that accrues to it has excluded, by default, serious consideration of ethics in a profession whose mission is fundamentally moral but whose practice is not. To understand the collective failure to see education as a fundamentally moral endeavor necessitates that administrators stand outside the organization called school in order to see its effect on their beliefs and values and on how they think and reason (Perrow, 1986).

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