Education Opinion

Leadership That Works

By LeaderTalk Contributor — August 02, 2009 2 min read
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I checked the Houston Chronicle website this morning as I always do on Sundays and I was pleasantly surprised to see an article/interview with one of our local high school principals who achieved great success with her school this year.

Jane Crump, the principal highlighted in this article, is also one of my closest friends and I know that the success of the students and teachers in her school are a reflection of her leadership style. She was selected last summer to lead the 10th-12th grade campus at a high school that the state had designated as being in need of restructuring after several years of unacceptable academic ratings. As the article on the Houston Chronicle states, in one year she took the campus from “unacceptable” to “recognized” -- completely skipping the “acceptable” rating and earning the second-highest academic rating given to schools by the state.

I can’t begin to list all of the things that she did this past year to get the school to move up two ratings, but I can tell you the leadership qualities that she possesses that enabled her to achieve this success:

-- She has sincere love for children and for their individual success
-- She believes strongly in supporting teachers and doing everything to help them be successful
-- She hires strong leaders for her leadership team
-- She knows what good instruction looks like and feels like in the classroom (she was an excellent classroom teacher herself)
-- She knows how to create a positive and nurturing school culture and climate
-- She sets high expectations for everyone -- including herself
-- She relies on a support network of other strong school leaders (her own PLN)
-- She views the students as if each one were her own child and she works hard to create a learning environment that she would want for her own child
-- She celebrates success often
-- She “feeds” her faculty and staff (literally and emotionally)
-- She works hard to maintain a positive attitude even when the odds are against her
-- She mentors and supports others on her staff to be leaders and she supports shared/distributed leadership

I am sure that many of those qualities are familiar to all of you who have read any of the books and resources on effective leadership. The difference for me is that I rarely see ALL of these qualities in one person, and I rarely see these expressed through genuine actions rather than just through words and “mission statements.” She lives these qualities. I truly wish we could clone her for the many schools that need effective leadership.

Jane -- my hat is off to you and your successful students! All of you worked very hard this year and it paid off. I wish you the very best success and continued improvement in the 2009-2010 school year!

Stephanie Sandifer
Blogs: Change Agency and Young Readers
Author of “Wikified Schools”

The opinions expressed in LeaderTalk are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.