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JSL Vol 26-N2

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JSL invites the submission of manuscripts that contribute to the exchange of ideas and scholarship about schools and leadership. All theoretical and methological approaches are welcome. We do not advocate or practice a bias toward any mode of inquiry (e.g., qualitative vs. quantitative; empirical vs. conceptual; discipline-based vs. interdisciplinary) and instead operate from the assumption that all careful and methodologically sound research has the potential to contribute to our understanding of school leadership. We strongly encourage authors to consider both the local and global implications of their work. The journal’s goal is to clearly communicate with a diverse audience including both school-based and university-based educators. The journal embraces a board conception of school leadership and welcomes manuscripts that reflect the diversity of ways in which this term is understood. The journal is interested not only in manuscripts that focus on administrative leadership in schools and school districts, but also in manuscripts that inquire about teacher, student, parent, and community leadership.

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6 Articles

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Putting Followers First: The Role of Servant Leadership in Cases of Urban, Public School Principals

ePub

AIMEE LAPOINTE TEROSKY

MARIA C. REITANO

Putting Followers First

The Role of Servant Leadership in Cases of Urban, Public School Principals

ABSTRACT: In this article, we apply the theory of servant leadership to qualitative data of 18 urban, K-12 public school principals noted as instructional leaders. We found that servant leadership, enacted through a concern for teachers’ learning, growth, and well-being, guided the thoughts and actions of 83% of the participants. Grounded in Spears’ (2002) conceptual framework for servant leadership, we share participants’ cases exemplifying servant leadership by highlighting their perspectives and actions toward their followers (i.e., teachers/staff). In light of teacher turnover and dissatisfaction, we argue that servant leadership holds promise for the practice of leadership within the context of today’s schools.

KEY WORDS: Servant Leadership, Principals, Leadership, Teachers’ Professional Growth

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Educational Leaders and the Acknowledgment Gap

ePub

KAIA TOLLEFSON

KENNETH R. MAGDALENO

Educational Leaders and the Acknowledgment Gap

ABSTRACT: This article takes as its premise the idea that an a priori acknowledgment gap exists relative to other kinds of gaps described in the literature on educational disparities between racial and ethnic groups. The authors define the acknowledgment gap as a disparity between some educational leaders and the communities they serve in understanding and valuing the roles of historical context and cultural, social, and economic capital in facilitating or hindering students’ academic success. A brief summary of gap discourse is included, providing context for the authors’ suggestion that an acknowledgment gap—existing as it does, as a mental state—precedes, explains, and actually lays foundation for the existence of other kinds of gaps describing educational disparities. Examples of the acknowledgment gap are followed by suggested actions that educational leaders can take to reduce it. School leaders working to narrow the acknowledgment gap, the authors suggest, will be creating a stronger platform on which to stand in their ongoing fight to eliminate disparities in educational opportunities and achievement.

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A Case of Teacher–Assistant Principals: Spanning the Boundary Between Administration and Faculty Through Re-emergent Practices in Teacher Leadership

ePub

J. LUCIANO BELTRAMO

A Case of Teacher–Assistant Principals

Spanning the Boundary Between Administration and Faculty Through Re-emergent Practices in Teacher Leadership

ABSTRACT: Increasingly, teacher leaders are being asked to undertake administrative practices, particularly around instructional policy implementation. Yet little is known about this approach to teacher leadership in current educational contexts or how it may support teachers’ work as boundary spanners between administration and faculty. This case study explores the duties and collegial interactions of two teacher–assistant principals (teacher-APs) and examines the challenges and resources activated through their professional endeavors. Findings suggest that the teacher-APs served as consiglieres, instructional leaders, and mediators between faculty and administration. This work positioned the participants as boundary spanners, who activated resources around policy alignment but also faced substantial challenges like ambiguity, overload, and instructional trade-offs.

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A Case Study of Technology Leadership In Situ: A High School iPad Learning Initiative

ePub

JOAN E. HUGHES
AUDREY BOKLAGE

MIN WOOK OK

A Case Study of Technology Leadership In Situ

A High School iPad Learning Initiative

ABSTRACT: This research examined how technology leadership functioned in the first year of a tablet computer (iPad) learning innovation in one U.S. high school and its district. This article presents a descriptive case study of leader interactions that contributed to setting direction, providing professional learning, and making the organization technologically ready. Qualitative data, collected through interviews and observations, revealed a “bottom-up” innovation with “top-down” support. Yet, the school’s entrenched structural and cultural practices undermined attempts to enact the learning-focused vision. This study emphasizes the need for a truly distributed vision, in which all organizational structures, practices, policies, and expectations are reconsidered.

KEY WORDS: iPad, Tablet, Technology Leadership, Technology Integration, Distributed Leadership

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Mentoring Urban School Leaders: A Model

ePub

SUZANNE MARTIN
JILLIAN GOURWITZ

KIMBERLY PAWLING HALL

Mentoring Urban School Leaders

A Model

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this article is to report on the findings of a mixed-mode study that examined the effect of mentoring on 20 doctoral students and 21 mentors in the National Urban Special Education Leadership Initiative (NUSELI), a federally funded urban special education leadership doctoral program. Each doctoral student was provided a school-based leader with a doctorate to serve as his or her mentor. The mentors received training from the NUSELI director, served as a member of the student’s dissertation committee, and provided access to opportunities in the school district. Mentor and mentee reports on the mentoring experience are presented.

KEY WORDS: Mentoring, Doctoral Preparation, Urban, Special Education, School Based

“Special education administrators play a critical role in the implementation of successful inclusion in diverse, standards-based environments. They provide the vision and leadership necessary to guide educators in both general and special education as they deliver instructional programs to meet the needs of diverse students with disabilities.” (Voltz & Collins, 2010, p. 70) The National Urban Special Education Leadership Initiative (NUSELI) addresses the critical need for highly qualified doctoral-level urban school district special education administrators who possess both the research-validated knowledge and skills and the practical wisdom to develop, implement, and evaluate exemplary programs, practices, and services for students with disabilities. According to the Wallace Foundation 2007 report, A Bridge to School Reform, “Leadership is an essential ingredient for ensuring that every child in America gets the education they need to succeed. Indeed, education leadership has been called the ‘bridge’ that can bring together the many different reform efforts in ways that practically nothing else can.” (p. 2) Additionally, Arthur E. Levine, former president of Columbia University, has stated, “Our country needs skilled education leaders more than it has ever before, and our schools of education aren’t preparing those people. And there are ways that they could change that would prepare those people” (Archer, 2005, p. 1). Mr. Levine states that most university programs that prepare school administrators range in quality from “adequate to poor” (Archer, 2005, p. 1). Nowhere is the need for redefining, strengthening, and providing adequate support for the roles of education leaders more challenging than with regard to special education in urban school systems.

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Under My Thumb: Principals’ Difficulty Releasing Decision-Making to Their Instructional Leadership Team

ePub

JENNIE MILES WEINER

Under My Thumb

Principals’ Difficulty Releasing Decision-Making to Their Instructional Leadership Team

ABSTRACT: This study investigates whether and how principals implementing Instructional Leadership Teams (ILTs) were able to share decision-making authority with team members and how team members perceived this authority. Having interviewed and observed ILT members in four, in-district charter schools in a large northeastern city, I find that principals had great difficultly releasing authority to team members and deployed a variety of “moves” to keep control over decision-making. Team members also appeared to perceive their authority as subordinate to the principal and embraced a hierarchical model of school leadership with an emphasis on formal authority and autocratic decision-making.

KEY WORDS: Educational Leadership, Educational Change, Shared Leadership, Teams

Schools have traditionally embraced a “lone hero” model of leadership (Copland, 2003; Higgins, Young, Weiner, & Wlodarczyk, 2009) in which the principal serves as the primary decision-maker on school policies and practice (Gunter, Hall, & Bragg, 2013; Spillane & Diamond, 2007). Additionally, though a number of initiatives have been introduced to increase teacher participation in school leadership activities and instructional decision-making (e.g., leadership teams, school site autonomy, etc.), many schools remain quite hierarchical (Hulpia, 2009; Murphy, 2005). This orientation often reveals itself in sharp delineations between teachers’ and administrators’ roles, with principals primarily serving as managers (Elmore, 2005) and teachers overseeing instructional practice in their classrooms (Weiner, 2011). In such cases, the leadership capacity of teachers tends to be underutilized, making large-scale reform difficult (Blankstein, Houston, & Cole, 2009).

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