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School Leadership Essay

The functioning of the schools has been constantly changing in response to the changing trends in education. The foundations and frame work for change is introduced by the principal, who then progressively adapts it in cooperation with all those, whom it would matter. The traditional image of a school principal being a strong manager in a hierarchical system or a high caliber executive, ensuring everyone’s conformity in line, is quickly fading. No longer is the principal performing just ceremonial or formal tasks. The new age demands and expects more from the education system and looks upon the principal to deliver. A principal’s strong belief and leadership are very important for the success of school changes, in the long run. Several recent studies calling for school reforms have emphasized the need to redefine the role of school principal. The principal may be described as the central point of the school change process, attempting to balance the requirements and view points of the teachers, community, district and state (Cushman, 1992).

Broadly speaking, the leadership qualities of a principal is observed in the development of a school culture to facilitate learning, set up shared learning goals, recognize economic and social issues that may be affect education.  Decentralization of decision making to local school level, site-based management and self managed schools are becoming increasingly common which highlight the need to review the principal’s role (Caldwell and Spinks, 1992, 1998).

Owing to pressure for reform and improvement in school functioning, several government agencies and departments associated with the school education are helping in the professional development of the principal. The need to work with external community, manage revenues, align curriculum to make it compatible with established standards and develop decision making bodies are some of the modified roles intended for principals (Barnett). Occupying a vital position in the complex working of the school, the principal’s job incorporates a number of roles including those of psychologist, teacher, facilities manager, philosopher, police officer, diplomat, social worker, mentor, PR director, coach and cheerleader. In any such role, the principal confronts all extremities associated with it. For instance dealing with a broken window to a broken house, a bruised knee to a bruised ego, a rusty pipe to a rusty teacher (Sherman, 2000).

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Cushman K. (Sept. 1992) The Essential School Principal: A Changing Role in a Changing School.; Horace Vol. 9, # 1.. [Electronic Version]. Retrieved on 2nd May, 2007 from http://www.essentialschools.org/cs/resources/view/ces_res/102

Caldwell, B J & Spinks, J M, (1992) Leading the self-managing school London, Falmer Press

Sherman L. Spring (2000). The New Principal. MW Education [Electronic Version]. Retrieved on 2nd May, 2007 from www.sedl.org

Schoolfile. The Role of the School Principal. [Electronic Version]. Retrieved on 2nd May, 2007 from http://www.schoolfile.com/cap_start/roleprin.htm

Barnett B.G, The changing external policy context and the Role of the school principal.

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Northern Colorado [Electronic Version]. Retrieved on 2nd May, 2007 from http://www.ncsl.org.uk

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