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Philosophy of Leadership

My philosophy of educational leadership: it takes an entire school community to insure the success of each student and it is the responsibility of the school leader to create an environment to foster this maturing process.  To achieve this, one must have a vision for the school, be proactive and lead by example.

Educational leaders must have a comprehensive shared vision that everyone helps create and that is disseminated to the community. Once all community members are aware of that vision, and realize that they are integral part of it, they will work together to achieve it.

My vision for students includes seeing them grow, mature and prosper as independent responsible individuals. This would be accomplished through creating an academic program that is challenging, diverse and tailored to the individual’s abilities.  The curriculum in all subject areas needs to be aligned from kindergarten through graduation. Instruction would include acceleration programs as well as academic intervention programs.  Students would have the opportunity to work with local colleges and universities to earn college credit and become exposed to various fields of study. Staff would be encouraged to create and maintain after-school activities and clubs that offer students diverse educational opportunities.  All activities would be customized to develop students’ skills and learning abilities. The additional time that administrators, staff and parents actively participate with the students would benefit the entire community. Students feel valuable when adults in their lives make time to participate in their activities; play sports, make contact with them in the halls, visit classes, attend their plays, help create team spirit and join in other student centered activities.  Students who feel cared for strive to impress those who care for them.  This motivates them to greater academic achievement and fosters emotional development.

Encouraging staff to develop relationships students and each other would be a major part of my vision for the staff.  I would create cohesiveness through shared projects, team planning time, accolades and staff get-togethers. I would articulate my expectation regarding the performance of staff and acknowledge their achievements via letters of recognition, news articles, gift certificates and award presentations in front of the staff and school. I would promote staff development encouraging them to update subject area knowledge as well as teaching strategies. Meetings would be held to share strategies and materials teachers find effective.

My vision for the community would include communicating openly through monthly newsletters, mailings and radio messages.  I would elicit perceptions, feelings, and concerns from the community and respond tactfully in a timely manner, encouraging candidness while striving to divert unnecessary conflict. I want the community to be involved in school by participating in events such as playground clean up, field trips, plays, shows, art exhibits and sports. Community members might also be involved directly in the classroom as guest speakers, “Room Moms and Dads,” group readers and tutors. The community would be offered services that could include adult education training, use of the distance learning room, use of the library and facilities for clubs, teams and groups.

Each aspect of my vision would exist to encourage an interconnected school district. I want a community that takes ownership of their childrens’ education. The ties holding us together help develop students into caring, responsible, mature individuals.

 

Demonstration of Educational Leadership; A Proactive Approach to Avoid Potential Problems; Leading by Example

Along with creating and disseminating a clear educational vision, I believe one must be proactive. When problems are anticipated, they can be addressed before they occur.  For example: before prom night all of the students would meet with the class advisors and go over rules of conduct, then they would be given a contract to take home to be reviewed, agreed to and signed by students and parents alike.  The contract should include a phone number where parents can be reached the night of the prom.  Staff, parents and students should know that if there were any problems chaperones would call parents for immediate pick up.  Knowing this in advance would allow students to make appropriate plans and decisions for the evening.

Anticipating problems and having a policy in place helps as a deterrent.  The policy book would need to be reviewed often as well as keeping up with current news and policies of other districts.  The student counsel would meet regularly with me to discuss school issues and I would implement their suggestions for improvements expediently.

The St Lawrence County Teachers Learning Center offers free mediation training for students and staff and is invaluable.  I would like to initiate a peer mediation team and staff mediation/discipline team.  The peer mediation team would handle student problems as they occur.  If a problem were out of their control, it would go to the staff mediation/discipline team who could continue mediating but also have the power to penalize.

Educational leaders must lead by example. Community members will respect a leader with the integrity to “Practice what they preach.” If I want students to operate in a mature manner, I will have to act in kind. I would demonstrate the importance of life long learning by attending conferences, students’ classes, teaching SAT sessions, stepping in for teachers when the opportunity arises, and showing a genuine interest in what students learn. Because I want my staff to listen to their students, I would allow for students, parents, and staff to have my ear when they need it.  I would note suggestions, ideas and requests so they were not forgotten. I would endeavor to meet the community’s needs.  Requests fulfilled in a reasonable time make people feel important, and helps develop positive relationships between staff, students and community. The key to leading by example would be to set high expectations for myself and others, articulate those expectations and measure achievement.

Modeling education leadership involves knowing how to use and utilize leading-edge techniques, strategies and technologies.  Schools must be outfitted with up-to-date equipment, and teachers trained to use this equipment. New technologies such as grade reporting programs, mail merge, Internet resources, WebPages, WebQuests, PowerPoint, photo-shop and publishing programs must be incorporated into the curriculum. Staff meetings will become an educational time with teachers sharing technological strategies, informative websites and other technological innovations.

My educational leadership philosophy stems from a deep caring and love for students, and has been developed through a variety of work experiences.  These include my tenure as a mathematics/computer science teacher, the years as an  adjunct professor for the Department of Education at St. Lawrence University, and my experience as an adult education teacher for BOCES, The Teachers Learning Center and SUNY Potsdam.  Contributing experiences have been the time spent on my Masters Degree in Administration at SLU, other professional development, my military career, and my life as a mother of three and foster parent. Each experience has given me insight into educational leadership and helped me form my philosophy of educational leadership.