After taking a short hiatus from social networking due to the birth of my daughter (cutie), I return to the school of the future series with a fury. In this post I would like to discuss educational hierarchy in general and school administrations in particular. Some recent events taking place within my PLN have made this subject even more topical. Recently Beth Still put out an invitation for innovative administrators to apply for an upcoming position at her school. She also asked other bloggers in her network to cross blog her post, maximizing exposure. In a similar circumstance, Scott McLeod wrote an open letter to his school board imploring them to think about educational reform as they select new leadership. I think this is a revolution in the way administrators are selected for districts, and perhaps this will be a way administrators are selected for schools of the future.
The most important question for me is: what are the qualities we need to see in progressive administrators to insure that educational reform can move forward. How much education or experience does a person need to be an effective administrator in the 21st century? What personal qualities do we wish our leaders to possess? How can we insure that the greatest talent goes to the most needy schools?
In my experience an administrator with vision can be transformative, and a leader without vision can be disruptive so I will begin the discussion by answering my own questions. Currently administrators need to have quite a bit of schooling to be qualified in my state, but having spent time in a classroom is not a prerequisite. Personally I wouldn’t mind if the educational requirements were softened in favor of a minimum years of teaching requirement. I think that school administrators should be required to spend at least five years teaching. Hopefully this would give some administrators more perspective, both in terms of the students and the teachers. Administrators should be open minded and forward thinking when it comes to new technologies. Administrators need to continually challenge the teachers in their districts to reject the status quo, but they should do so in a way that teachers feel safe. Administrators need to have the courage to fix the problems that exist in their schools, but act with a long-term, deliberate plan that contains measurable goals.
If you were on the committee choosing your school’s next administrator, what would be non-negotiable?