Leadership in Education

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The main focus or expected outcome of a leader specifically in school is how he/she plays the roles as a principal, the content of the role, decision making, instructions, curriculum, norms and authority in relations that govern the main description of a principal in a school. Complexities and change are dominant in working as a leader in school; it shapes the dynamics and results of successions (cited in Hart 1998).

According to Davies & birdhouse (2008, p.1), passionate leadership is explained to be all about energy, commitment, a belief  that every child is able and can learn, a concern with social justice and the optimism that we can make a difference. The passion to leave a mark is what turns beliefs into becoming realities and this portrays leadership in depth. Through passionate leadership certain set of values are established and purpose which uphold processes of education in schools. The values and purpose are to driven by personal commitment and passion of the leader hence driving them into reality (Davies & Brighouse, 2008).

The main concern and focus here is what are the requirements for deep leadership in order to translate passion into reality, how to cultivate those unique skills in leadership in order to change those around such leaders and enable them meet daily challenges rising above them with fashionable leadership. Davies & Brighouse (2008) explains that values with no implementation by the concerned principals do nothing for the school. Through tracking of situations and challenges that are hard, improvements and changes are eminent. Passionate leaders show their worth and value by confronting abominable practices. Visions are moved into action through passion and creating a sense of meaning is a distinguishing factor in leadership and all that is incorporated in it.

Passionate head teachers/ principals

Davies & Brighouse (cited in Clegg, 1980) explains of Samuel Clegg who was a poet, an artist, a pioneer, and a teacher. He later became a distinguished head teacher:

He was an artist, a poet, a radical pioneer, a stringent stimulating teacher, an undaunted soul… He had faith and character. His work in school was an intimate echo of his inner life. He loved his fellow men, gave himself generously for others and by losing himself in his appointed task, gained new life and power… Nothing but the best he loved was good enough for children and strove to surround them with good things.

Being an inspiration, questioning with enthusiasm and an expert in story telling-A passionate leader especially in a school set up should be a storyteller. There is need for passionate schools to tell stories of the past, present and the future according to the achievements by different groups within the society. The head teacher leads in story telling cross-referencing all sorts of stories on others with a reflection on the common values and varying acts of school members. He links the past with the present and with a speculative aspect, to future achievements that are withstanding, highlighting achievement a little ahead of where they really happen to be i.e. not very far away such that they don’t appear inaccessible (cited in Davies & Brighouse, 2008).

Ability to create capacity and vigour among the staff-as the head and at the same time a leader the head teacher should have unshakable ability to select and mould staff with similar passion and no room for excuses. Never permit their individual passion cast a shadow over other member’s passions. To keep everyone in toes harness their energy and curiosity intellectually (cited in Davies & Brighouse, 2008). Other elements of a passionate leader/head in a school set-up as outline by Davies & Brighouse (2008, p.26 & 29) are:

  • The habit of seeking, charting improvement and constantly extending the vision.
  • Constantly living one’s life at the highest common factor from religious and humanist traditions.
  • Always striving for success for all pupils and staff rather than acting on the assumption that creating room for any kind of failure by some.

In a magazine entitled ‘Black Enterprise’ by Richard Green (1988), he points out that where children attend their education and places of work be viewed as valuable areas. He points out that it should be of concern for any leader in a school to focus on issues of performance by students. When there are a substantial number of students who are performing poorly or for whatever reasons not completing their High school studies successfully, this does not only impact their personal lives but also on more on the general society, the product from the school and those that are responsible for the schools. Heads of those schools ought to understand that an achievement to a student is a very vital tool of priority. An illiterate person has a hard time succeeding in complex societies more to this illiteracy puts limits in student’s choices in life. It is a major challenge on how students are shaped up in secondary schools.

 Issues of professionalism

Teachers have been undervalued over the last decades have been undervalued, teachers leaving g the profession, or looking forward to when they will no longer be in service means that the school system is weakening and will no longer succeed. Teachers are a source of success and if all missions, commitments, security measures and dreams are in place with inefficiencies of levels of teaching ongoing in classes, education cannot and isn’t going to grow. The community has a role to play in monitoring how their schools and principals in those schools discharge their roles and effective leadership i.e. in ensuring that resources are availed to people enabling them do their job (cited in Richard ,1988, p.74). Parents too have a role to play, giving their children to the school system and leave it there, “they have to walk the path of education with their children not send them ahead” (Richard, 1988, p.76). They should be involved in the life of the schools, principals, and the overall school systems in order to ensure responsible leadership and accountability by school heads.

Roles of a principal in leadership

The role of principals has been drastically changing from a manager to the school catalyst for success according to the stakeholders (i.e. based on accountability and the success of students), he becomes a liaison for all resources (parents, neighbours, caregivers, churches, and other agencies) included. He becomes the ultimate voice of the school, the pioneer of appropriate education and finally the chief campaigner of value of education in a democratically driven society. He is referred to as the education facilitator by the learning masses of the society (cited in Elaine 2002).

Principals are regarded as problem solving figures in a school setup, they are required and expected to buffer and address the technical core of the school. All the pressing needs of students, parents, and any other source that require attention from the principal to complete the cycle in the system (cited in Jossey, 2007). According to Jossey-Bass Inc (cited in Keller, 1998, p.2), he suggests a variety of attributes of a perfect school principal:

  • Recognise teaching and learning as the main business of the school.
  • Communicates the school’s mission clearly and consistently, to all staff, students and parents.
  • Fostering standards for teaching and learning that are high and attainable.
  •  Providing clear goals and monitors the progress of students and teachers towards meeting them.
  • Promoting an atmosphere of trust and sharing.
  • Building good staff and making professional development a top priority.
  • Spends time in classrooms and listening to teachers.
  • Does not tolerate bad and incompetent teachers.

There are a number of leadership models that have been suggested through analysis of various articles on leadership in schools. Jossey (cited in Leithwood & Duke, 1999) identifies the following models:

  • Transformation based leadership-this focuses on the capability and commitment of members. It brings about charisma, empowerment concept of leadership, vision, and culture.
  • Leadership based on instructions,focussed on the behaviour of teachers as they undertake their roles that has an effect on student growth.
  • Leadership based on morals-it is focused on the ethical behaviour and values of an individual leader which are the basis for decision making and conflict resolution
  • Contingency based approach.
  • Managerial approach of leadership.
  • Participatory approach.

It is imperative for the principal not to be disillusioned by the extra class activities since their work of administration involves a lot of problems. Principals though a are called to support co curricular activities by students because they help them in having opportunities to pursue other interests and development of other interests, provides a well rounded social development of students as well as a morale buster in school (cited in Rain, 2007).

Families are cited to be the best providers of informal education, therefore parents, teachers and principals have a task of organizing activities in the interest of families. For example meetings focusing on teenagers in relation to problems facing their age groups, parties, future education choices and many more (cited in Jaap, 2009)


In exercising leadership as a principal in a school setup, the proficient principal should demonstrate vision and portray leadership that appropriately involves the school community in creating shared values and believes, demonstrate ethical behaviour, judgement and morals, facilitate the leadership of others, be able to recognize the individual needs and contribution of all students and staff and finally identifying, pursuing, actively coordinate the availability of material, human and financial resources to meet the schools goals and aspirations.

The learning society or community has to participate in helping the principal implement the set strategies to ensure accountability and actualization of values and visions of the school community. Co-curricular activities should not be looked down upon by principal since they play a role in development of students morally, build their morale and give them opportunities to establish them self, pursuing other developments.