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Journal of School Leadership

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103 Articles

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Wilkerson

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Reginald D. Wilkerson

Camille M. Wilson

“Beating against the Wind”

The Politics of Race and Retention in Supporting African American Principal Advocacy and Growth

ABSTRACT: In this article, authors offer a CRT-driven analysis of in-depth interview data from two African American principals charged with turning around poverty-impacted, largely African–American populated schools. Both served as social justice–oriented leaders who countered traditional administrative approaches and disrupted racially and/or socioeconomically biased practices. Their leadership and student advocacy methods clashed with district ideals and policies, and each faced severe repercussions. The authors highlight why supporting and retaining such school leaders is necessary, and offer strategies capable of helping the educational community move forward in supporting a vulnerable leadership population commonly assigned to improve the most challenging U.S. schools.

KEY WORDS: Critical Race Theory, Principal Support, Administrative Retention, Advocacy

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Special Issue Introduction: The Psychology of Educational Leadership

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Karen Stansberry Beard

Noelle Witherspoon Arnold

Ty-Ron M. O. Douglas

Special Issue Introduction

The Psychology of Educational Leadership

While there are many definitions of leadership, one implicit theme across all is the importance of psychological phenomena and processes in leading and following (Bell, 2003). Considerable research has been devoted to explicating the traits and characteristics of individual leaders; however, less has been devoted to leadership in context and as existing in an ecology of its own (Witherspoon Arnold, forthcoming). For example, this leadership ecology is influenced by how leaders make meaning of their leadership and the effectiveness of their leadership in and across contexts (Beard, 2015; 2016). The complex and demanding role of leadership requires examination of the employment of psychological levers, buffers, and mediators that impact leadership understandings, behaviors, and practices.

Personality models represent a standardization of leadership and have largely failed (Haslam, Reicher, & Platow, 2011) to inform or predict leadership effectiveness. Stodgill’s (1948) predictive indicators of leadership were found to be unpredictable when testing could not control for context. Moreover, Strodbeck and Mann’s (1956) subsequent research revealed that the meanings associated with standardized leadership concepts was highly variable. While psychology has expanded beyond the “great man” ideas of leadership, field educational leadership has moved more slowly than other fields in exploring the psychology of leadership and practice in context. While educational leadership has explored leadership as a negotiation of epistemologies, ontologies, and axiologies, and not a static end result (Witherspoon & Taylor, 2010), it has not systematically assessed the variations in leadership across educational ecologies.

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Development and Validation of an Instrument to Assess Teacher Leadership Behaviors in a Math–Science Partnership Program

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NITHYA DORAISWAMY

KRISTEN M. PORTER

GRANT WILSON

PETER PAPRZYCKI

CHARLENE M. CZERNIAK

NICOLE TUTTLE

KEVIN CZAJKOWSKI

Development and Validation of an Instrument to Assess Teacher Leadership Behaviors in a Math–Science Partnership Program

ABSTRACT: This paper describes the development and validation of a science teacher leadership instrument modeled on the seven domains of the Teacher Leader Model (TLM) Standards (The Teacher Leadership Exploratory Consortium, 2011). Instrument development was part of National Science Foundation–funded Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) program that aimed to develop science teacher leaders through the use of Project-Based Science (PBS) in the context of renewable energy. Ratings of professional development sessions presented by teacher leaders to their peers were analyzed to assess whether the instrument could be used to measure teacher leadership in this context. The resulting TLM Standards Instrument is presented as a valid instrument to observe the development and assessment of teacher leadership.

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Developing An Assessment of Community Equity Literacy: An Exploratory Study of Aspiring School Principals

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TERRANCE L. GREEN

MELISSA A. RODGERS

Developing An Assessment of Community Equity Literacy

An Exploratory Study of Aspiring School Principals

ABSTRACT: Principals play a critical role in school-community engagement, yet there are a dearth of instruments to measure principals’ knowledge and practice in this area. This study therefore describes the research base of community equity literacy and explains why it is essential to the work of school principals and their leadership teams. It also examines the results of a pilot survey of an experienced group of aspiring school principals as a way to further develop an instrument to assess educational leaders’ community equity literacy. This article concludes with implications for leader preparation and future research.

KEY WORDS: Community Equity Literacy, Assessment, School-Community Relatio ns, School Leadership, Community-Based Equity Audit

Schools and communities are inextricably linked and offer an important relationship that can equitably strengthen academic and neighborhood-community conditions. Thus, the research on schools and communities, especially those located in urban neighborhoods of color, has garnered renewed attention from policymakers and scholars in recent years. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) launched the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative (PNI) to improve student outcomes in underserved urban and rural neighborhoods and to foster stronger partnerships between schools and local communities (Horsford & Sampson, 2014; Miller, Wills, & Scanlan, 2013). Between 2010 and 2012, the USDOE allocated $70 million to support the PNI. This policy effort is significant because it connects out-of-school inequities (e.g., community-based poverty) with those inequities that manifest inside of schools, as it is the “first federal initiative to put education at the center of comprehensive efforts to fight poverty in urban and rural areas” (US Department of Education, 2010, para. 1; see also Green & Gooden, 2014; Berliner, 2006; Miller, Brown, & Hopson, 2011; Milner, 2013; Milner, Murray, Farinde, & Delale-O’Connor, 2015; Noguera & Wells, 2011). Additionally, due to the new, yet shifting policy milieu in which school leaders find themselves and the evolving demands of the principalship, in 2015 scholars and practitioners put forth new national standards to guide educational leaders’ practices in ways that will be most productive and beneficial to all students (National Policy Board for Educational Administration, 2015).

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How Contexts Matter: A Framework for Understanding the Role of Contexts in Equity-Focused Educational Leadership

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RACHEL ROEGMAN

How Contexts Matter

A Framework for Understanding the Role of Contexts in Equity-Focused Educational Leadership

ABSTRACT: In this article, I put forth a framework for thinking about how contexts matter. This framework highlights organizational, occupational, personal, and social contexts that influence leadership, which I illustrated with three cases of superintendents working on issues of systemic, equity-focused improvements. Data are drawn from a seven-year study of a superintendent’s network, including nine interviews with each participant. These illustrations demonstrate that different interactions between the personal, occupational, social, and organizational contexts may result in reframing, crystallizing, or negotiating what it means to lead for equity. For superintendents to engage in equity-minded reform, research and policy need to expand to consider leaders’ personal experiences as well as dominant discourses of equity.

KEY WORDS: Educational Leadership/Educational Administration, Superintendency, Equity, Contexts, School Reform

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Principals’ Perspectives of a Race to the Top-Style Teacher Evaluation System

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Douglas Wieczorek

Brandon Clark

George Theoharis

__________________________________________________________________________________

Principals’ Perspectives of a Race to the Top-Style Teacher Evaluation System

Abstract: Set in a collective bargaining state in the Northeastern U.S., this exploratory case study investigated how a sample of 12 public school principals interpreted new teacher evaluation processes required by Race to the Top (RTTT). Principals reported that the RTTT evaluation system disrupted established routines and contractual guidelines for evaluating all their teachers and held principals more accountable for supervision and evaluation processes. The embedded evaluation protocols and rubrics established clearer expectations for teachers’ performance, and aligned state-, district-, and school-level instructional goals. However, principals believed the RTTT policy emphasis on teachers’ ratings raised concerns about their teachers’ employment status, professional growth, and instructional improvement. Our findings suggest that principals may have difficulty balancing instructional supervision and evaluation processes in these types of high-stakes policy systems.

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Principals’ Uses and Interpretations of Student Growth Percentile Data

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Amanda L. CLAUSER

Lisa A. Keller

Kathryn A. McDermott

Principals’ Uses and Interpretations of Student Growth Percentile Data

Address correspondence to Amanda L. Clauser, EdD, National Board of Medical Examiners, 3750 Market Street, Philadelphia PA 19104. E-mail: aclauser@nbme.org.

ABSTRACT: Increasing numbers of states have incorporated measures of students’ academic growth into their data and accountability policies. Measuring growth is a statistically complicated task and complex growth measures can be easy to misinterpret. This paper reports on a survey of 317 Massachusetts principals’ understanding of the Student Growth Percentile (SGP), a popular growth model. The survey was designed to produce information about how Massachusetts principals use and interpret the SGP and the extent to which they have misconceptions about what SGPs mean. The survey reveals some common misconceptions, often based on confusion about the differences between the norm-referenced SGP and the state’s criterion-referenced assessments. We conclude that there is a risk that principals will make inappropriate decisions based on SGPs. Because of their central role in school improvement, principals need better opportunities to learn about how to use SGP and other growth model data.

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900 Special Issue Introduction—Teacher Leadership: Furthering the Research Agenda

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MELINDA M. MANGIN

Special Issue Introduction

Teacher Leadership: Furthering the Research Agenda

Education policy makers and K–12 practitioners have embraced teacher leadership as a critical element of school improvement. Teacher leadership, as part of a comprehensive reform strategy, is thought to increase teacher motivation and commitment, create opportunities for teacher learning and development, and facilitate sustained instructional improvement (Beachum & Dentith, 2004; Curtis, 2013; Mangin & Stoelinga, 2008; York-Barr & Duke, 2004). One recent example of education policy aimed at increasing teacher leadership is Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s Teach to Lead initiative. This national program seeks to mobilize teachers’ knowledge and skills in an effort to capitalize on valuable human resources and build collective capacity in schools. To date, Teach to Lead has garnered support from 71 educational organizations (see: http://teachtolead.org/). State departments of education have kept pace with this trend, creating teacher leader endorsements that can be added to a teaching certificate (Hohenbrink, Stauffer, Zigler, & Uhlenhake, 2011; Shelton, 2011) and adopting the recently developed Teacher Leader Model Standards as a means to facilitate high-quality teacher leader preparation (Berg, Carver, & Mangin, 2014; Teacher Leadership Exploratory Consortium, 2011).

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

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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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Critical Issues in Teacher Leadership: A National Look at Teachers’ Perception

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Jennifer Jacobs

Stephen P. Gordon

Rachel Solis

Critical Issues in Teacher Leadership

A National Look at Teachers’ Perception

Address correspondence to Jennifer Jacobs, PhD, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave. Tampa, FL 33620. E-mail: jjacobs8@usf.edu

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify (1) teacher- leaders’ descriptions of their roles and activities, (2) perceptions of characteristics, knowledge, and skills of successful teacher leaders, (3) barriers to and support needed for teacher leadership, (4) the extent to which teacher leaders helped teachers understand and respond to different cultures, and (5) the rewards of teacher leadership. Phase I of the study consisted of a survey of 177 teacher leaders across eight states representing all regions of the country. In Phase II we conducted interviews with 20 of the survey respondents to supplement survey data. Findings point to the complex nature of the roles and activities of teacher leaders. The data have implications for teacher leadership preparation and the ongoing support teacher leaders will need to actualize their roles within schools.

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Conceptualizing Principal–Student Racial Congruence

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BRADLEY W. DAVIS

AMY P. LIPPA

MEGHAN LEHR

MARK A. GOODEN

TRANG V. DINH

Conceptualizing Principal–Student Racial Congruence

Address correspondence to Bradley W. Davis, PhD, College of Education, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, The University of Texas at Arlington, 701 Planetarium Place, BOX 19575, Arlington, TX 76019. E-mail: bwdavis@uta.edu.

ABSTRACT: Principal–student racial congruence exists in a school when the race of the principal matches that of the largest race group among the student population. We argue that principal–student racial congruence is a topic that has received little attention in the literature. Using Texas data, we investigate the presence of principal–student racial congruence in public schools and the varying ways it manifests across differing school contexts. We found a slim majority of public schools to be racially congruent. Although we are aware of no research basis for considering racial congruence in administrator placement practices, our analysis suggests that Texas school districts do exactly that. Further, we found the likelihood of a White principal–student match to be much higher than that of any other congruency. The implications of our findings, as well as their contribution to a larger discussion of race and school leadership, are offered in the concluding sections of the article.

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Sense-making of Federal Education Policy

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F. Chris Curran

Ann T. Kellogg

Sense-making of Federal Education Policy

Social Network Analysis of Social Media Discourse around the Every Student Succeeds Act

ABSTRACT: Grounded in the sense-making literature, this study explores the discourse around and sentiment toward the newly passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as discussed on the social media platform Twitter. The study explores the characteristics of and connections between users, the content of posts, and the sentiment toward ESSA. Data consisted of 12,544 tweets posted by 8,063 users analyzed through discourse analysis and social network analysis. Findings suggest that the discourse appears generally nonnegative with a clear pattern of clustering around sentiment. This suggests that users are in discourse with other users who share their view of the law. Discussion of policy issues such as local implementation and equity were common as were discussions of teacher preparation and comparisons to NCLB. Implications for the ongoing implementation of ESSA are discussed.

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Assistant Principals’ Perceptions of Value Added to School Success

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ANNA SUN

ALAN R. SHOHO

Assistant Principals’ Perceptions of Value Added to School Success

ABSTRACT: With the quantitative and G-theory methodologies, this study investigated the perceptions of assistant principals in the states of Pennsylvania and Texas about their evolving roles and responsibilities. The research results suggest there was consistency in terms of the importance of the 56 school activities to the success of schools in teaching and learning as rated by assistant principals. Most of the 56 activities were considered important to teaching and learning by assistant principals regardless of their gender, age, years in present position, and years of experience in education, although there was still some unexplained variability in each assistant principal’s rater group.

KEY WORDS: Assistant Principal, School Leadership, G-theory

Traditionally, principals have responsibilities that include, but not limited to, setting direction, supervising curricula, advancing improvements, and increasing student achievements (e.g., Hallinger & Heck, 1998, 1996; Jacobson & Bezzina, 2008; Leithwood & Riehl, 2005; Muijs & Harris, 2002). However, the continuing onslaught of demands and external mandates from federal and state governments has now attained such pervasive magnitudes that many of today’s principals have found themselves reaching the limits of their dedication to their jobs. Leadership in schools might thus be a better practice of the distribution of leadership from other members and various sources in the leadership team (Gronn, 2002; Jason, Stone & Clark, 2009; Kaplan & Owings, 1999; Spillane, 2006), such as from assistant principals.

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Coaching Principals for the Complexity of School Reform

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Chad R. Lochmiller

Coaching Principals for the Complexity of School Reform

ABSTRACT: This multi-case qualitative study describes how leadership coaches working in a university-based coaching program provided support to school principals in three urban elementary schools in the western United States. Drawing on qualitative data collected during a single school year, the study examines which issues leadership coaches prioritized and how they provided coaching support. A thematic analysis of the data produced four findings. These findings suggest that coaches focused their work on classroom instruction and adopted differentiated responses to support based on principal and school needs. The article concludes by discussing the implications for leadership preparation and school reform.

KEY WORDS: Leadership Coaching, Instructional Leadership, School Principals, Professional Development, School Reform

Urban school leaders face tremendous pressure to improve student achievement outcomes. Scholars have suggested leadership coaching as one of many strategies that may be helpful in supporting school leaders who engage in significant school reform efforts (Barnett & O’Mahony, 2008; Neufeld & Roper, 2003; O’Mahony & Barnett, 2008; O’Mahony, Matthews, & Barnett, 2009; Wise & Jacobo, 2010). Leadership coaching is distinct from instructional coaching, which is often used to support classroom teachers in acquiring more desirable pedagogical practices (Gallucci, Van Lare, Yoon, & Boatright, 2010) or creating coherence across instructional reforms (Woulfin & Rigby, 2017). In recent years, leadership coaching research has expanded, with empirical evidence demonstrating both the efficacy of leadership coaching approaches (Goff, Guthrie, Goldring, & Bickman, 2014; Grissom & Harrington, 2010) and providing descriptions of various leadership coaching approaches, models, and programs (Lochmiller, 2014; Silver, Lochmiller, Copland, & Tripps, 2009; Villani, 2005). A few scholars have spent considerable time investigating how leadership coaching might be effectively provided over a period of one to three years as part of an induction program designed for novice principals or as a form professional development designed for novice, mid-career, or veteran administrators (Lochmiller, 2014; O’Mahony & Barnett, 2008; Silver et al., 2009; Villani, 2005). Findings from these studies suggest that leadership coaching is not a static practice, but frequently evolves in response to the individual principal’s needs and school-based conditions (Lochmiller & Silver, 2010). As such, the evolutionary nature of leadership coaching support makes it ideal for leaders entering the unstable contexts of struggling urban schools. Indeed, leadership coaching may well enable principals to manage the internal and external factors influencing schools that initiate school-wide reform (Knapp, 1997; Marks & Nance, 2007).

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Editor

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EDITOR

Gaëtane Jean-Marie, PhD

University of Northern Iowa

College of Education

150 Schindler Education Center

8120 Jennings Drive

Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0610

E-mail: jsl@uni.edu Office: 319.273.2717 Fax: 319.273.2607

ASSOCIATE EDITORS

Curt M. Adams, PhD

University of Oklahoma

Bradley W. Carpenter, PhD

University of Houston

Sonya Douglass Horsford, EdD

Teachers College, Columbia University

Denise S. Schares, EdD

University of Northern Iowa

Natalie A. Tran, PhD

California State University, Fullerton

ASSISTANT EDITOR

Michelle Cook

University of Northern Iowa

MANAGING EDITOR

Carlie Wall

Associate Editor

Rowman & Littlefield

PRODUCTION EDITOR

Ashleigh Cooke

Associate Editor

Rowman & Littlefield

Rowman & Littlefield appreciates the University of Louisville College of Education and Human Development for their support and assistance in the production of the Journal of School Leadership.

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Leadership for Cultural and Language Diversity in the Context of Schools for the Deaf

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CATHERINE O’BRIEN

KERRY K. ROBINSON

Cultural Leadership in Schools for the Deaf

Leadership for Cultural and Language Diversity in the Context of Schools for the Deaf

ABSTRACT: This study examined the variation in cultural competence among leaders in four different residential schools for the Deaf across the United States. The study explored where leaders fell on the cultural continuum, and how this was reflected in the schools in the way each perceived and validated Deaf culture as well as other cultures present in the schools. This qualitative multi-case ethnographic methodology utilized interviews as primary data sources which were video-taped in order to accurately transcribe them and to score concepts and themes for analysis by grounded theory methodology. The findings highlighted the complexities of culture and the ways that administrators embraced or knowingly or unknowingly overlooked the cultures that the students brought to the schools. Finally, the leadership decisions made by administrators were also tied to their own cultural proficiency.

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Academic Optimism, Enabling Structures, and Student Achievement

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Karen Anderson

Frances Kochan

Lisa A. W. Kensler

Ellen H. Reames

Academic Optimism, Enabling Structures, and Student Achievement

Delving into Relationships

ABSTRACT: This study examined the relationships between enabling structures, academic optimism, and student achievement to determine whether academic optimism served as a mediator between the two. Student achievement was measured using both criterion-referenced and norm-referenced tests. Findings indicated a relationship between academic optimism, enabling structures, and student achievement. Also, academic optimism appeared to serve as a mediator between enabling structures and norm-referenced assessments but did not correlate with criterion-referenced tests. This study is one of only a few seeking to establish connections among enabling structures, academic optimism, and student achievement, measured at the school level, in elementary schools. The use of mediation also offers a unique perspective on the literature.

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Embedding Performance Assessments for Leaders into Preparation

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Margaret Terry Orr

Liz Hollingworth

Janice Cook

Embedding Performance Assessments for Leaders into Preparation

A Comparison of Approaches, Candidates, and Assessment Evidence

ABSTRACT: This article presents pilot study results of two leadership performance assessments, designed for a California principal preparation program and embedded in preparation using two learning approaches. The pilot study had two purposes: to evaluate the assessments’ content validity and to evaluate the candidates’ leadership skills as demonstrated through their assessment products and an independent self-assessment tool. The evidence showed the tasks to be valid and useful tools for formative leadership development for different candidates and school settings. Participant feedback on the assessments’ benefits and independent self-assessment ratings provided construct validation. We concluded that these are promising assessment tools for programs’ use in candidate assessment.

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