rss_2.0Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice Feed to school improvement: Discovering network patterns of school principals<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The purpose of this study is to examine the network effect of school principals as it relates to school improvement. Network practices of school principals are compared to an innovative practice for improving networking practices. Through descriptive statistics and chi-square goodness of fit, we illustrate the difference between what school principals do concerning their networking practices for school improvement compared to an innovative ideal approach for using network working for school improvement. Findings indicate there is a statistically significant difference between school principals’ networking practices in comparison to ideal networking practices for school improvement. There are also differences between who school principals seek out for ideas and who they seek out for feedback concerning their school improvements. Further discussion informs how the next generation of school principals can be equipped with innovative skills for tackling 21st-century school improvement issues.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue leadership across a network professional learning community<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>A network professional learning community (PLC) is characterised by a non-hierarchical approach to professional learning. Members are supported to engage and to learn when leadership is distributed across a network PLC. The mixed methods study reported here was designed to examine how a network PLC could effectively improve visual arts pedagogy in early childhood education (ECE) settings. The design and analysis were considered through a lens of distributed leadership. The research had two main stages, a nationwide survey and an embedded case study. The case study findings demonstrated the possibilities of a network PLC approach to foster distributed leadership across PLC members, the facilitator, ECE teams and leaders; participants successfully shared and applied new learning and improved pedagogy for visual arts learning. Overall, this study suggests that leadership is a critical aspect of the network PLC approach, and that attention should be paid to distributed leadership and to the role of the positional leaders in supporting the application of learning from a network PLC to education settings.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Playcentre learning story: Te Whāriki as a framework for reflecting on emergent leadership<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Research into leadership in early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand is in its infancy. At this early stage, distributed leadership has been identified as the most common style of leadership used in teacher-led early childhood education and care services. However, as a parent-led early childhood education service, Playcentre uses emergent leadership. Currently, professional development opportunities on leadership in early childhood education are geared towards teacher-led services. Therefore, how can a parent who has experienced emergent leadership identify the leadership skills gained that will form part of their professional practice when they return to paid work? This enquiry uses Te Whāriki as a leadership framework for reflecting on leadership skills gained through Playcentre. An autoethnographic case study method was employed to explore this framework in the context of the leadership skills that I gained while working at Playcentre over a 16–year period. The enquiry concluded that combining Te Whāriki with the early childhood education assessment for learning framework provides a matrix for examining leadership practice, as well as a way of developing insights into personal leadership practices. The use of the matrix provides scope for Playcentre leaders and other early childhood education leaders to reflect and gain insight into their leadership and for developing their own leadership framework of practice.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue through the glass ceiling: Experiences of academic women who have advanced to leadership roles in tertiary education in New Zealand<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Recent data shows a continuing trend of gender disparity in leadership positions in tertiary education in New Zealand with men dominating higher levels of employment and advancing at faster rates than women. This study explored the experiences of six academic women who have advanced to leadership roles in New Zealand to examine the role that gender plays in their career progression. It found a range of gendered experiences including negative incidents of sexism and obstacles to advancing. There were also stories of positive experiences of supportive work environments and initiatives such as mentoring that have aided them to gain leadership positions. Participants recognised the complexity of gender issues acknowledging the range of factors and perceptions that influence their experiences in academia.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue epistemology: Rural school and district leadership for diversity and social justice<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This qualitative study focuses on the intersectionality of race and rurality by looking at the responses of Wyoming principals and superintendents to the issues of diversity and social justice within Wyoming. The responses are presented and analyzed through a new framework called Cowboy Epistemology, and the Cultural Competency Continuum (<xref ref-type="bibr" rid="j_jelpp-2023-0003_ref_018">Lindsey et al., 2009</xref>). It appears that despite double-digit increases in diversity between 2010 and 2018, some Wyoming school and district administrators continue to demonstrate actions and practices congruent with the demographic divide, cultural homophily, and Whiteness along with cultural worldviews that suggest a failure to: (1) value diversity, (2) engage political organizations and individuals in a manner that advocates for the needs of diverse students, (3) implement multicultural instruction beyond superficial means, and (4) engage the community in tolerance for others who are different from the traditional White Wyoming ranching, conservative, materials extraction, isolationist way of life. While outliers and standards for social justice and diversity exist in Wyoming among and for administrators, more needs to be done to prepare and train administrators to engage in culturally proficient and sustaining instructional leadership so that administrators can serve all students, engage in community leadership, and resist the negative influences of Cowboy Epistemology, demographic divide, cultural homophily, and Whiteness. Chief among the more needs to be done for Wyoming administrators is the adoption of culturally responsive school and culturally sustaining instructional leadership practices and training on the culturally proficient continuum.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue family experiences in higher education: Surfacing, awakening, and transforming developing leader identity<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Storying family experiences provides a means to explore and support leader identity development. The idea of recalling and reflecting on stories about and from families can surface how orientations to lead are learned early on in life. We report on students’ narratives generated during a postgraduate early childhood education leadership course to understand the significance of family storytelling in leader identity development and the awakenings this process encouraged for those involved. Using <xref ref-type="bibr" rid="j_jelpp-2023-0002_ref_019">McCain and Matkin’s (2019)</xref> concept of retrospective storytelling, narrative inquiry underpinned our analysis of students’ family-oriented stories and the identification of two themes regarding their orientation to leadership: the influence of families’ hardships, work ethic and selfless actions; and the expectations associated with being the first-born in the family and the assumed responsibilities. Our findings affirm the transformative potential of selecting, telling, and reflecting on family stories to both understand the roots of leadership motivations and develop leader identities. Implications include promoting a narrative-based pedagogy for leadership development that centres on postgraduate students’ retrospective storying of family experiences.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue responsive policy development: Co-constructing assessment and reporting practices with First Nation educators in Alberta<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Informed by an adaption of the tri-level reform framework, we collaborated with a First Nation district student assessment committee, school principals, and district personnel to develop a student assessment policy. Through a series of workshops and meetings with school administrators and classroom teachers from Tsuut’ina Nation, located in southern Alberta, Canada, we created an assessment, evaluation, and reporting policy aligned to Tsuut’ina fundamental values, provincial priorities, and best practices in student assessment. Teaching practices that are aligned to the three educational pillars of learner outcomes, instruction, and assessment, as well as the Tsuut’ina fundamental values, have the potential to impact the Nation’s student educational success. We discuss implications of this work in relation to collaboration, Indigenous world view, and outcome-based reporting.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and challenging dimensions of principal autonomy in South Australia: A lived experience phenomenological analysis of the courage to care<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper employs critical policy historiography of South Australian public education as a contextual backdrop that speaks to a hermeneutic phenomenological study of the lived experiences of two former public-school principals, who describe how their ongoing social justice schooling agendas in public education met with considerable departmental resistance. Both resigned at the peak of their public education careers to pursue their schooling vision in the federally funded independent school system which traditionally catered for the wealthy, elite schools and forms the third tier of the complex funding arrangements of education in Australia that has festered for years under the label “the funding wars” (<xref ref-type="bibr" rid="j_jelpp-2021-0005_ref_001">Ashenden, 2016</xref>). Changes to funding arrangements opened up the system and gave the opportunity for our two principals to pursue a public vision in the independent schooling sector, free from what they described as the “shackles” of bureaucratic command and control. The phenomenological essence of their journeyed leadership narratives reveals the <bold>courage to care</bold>, driving their narrative reflections. They perceived that increasing demands of departmental compliance took them away from being able to pursue a socially just vision with autonomy and freedom. Stepping into the uncertainty of their new independent schooling aspirations, the principals <bold>felt</bold> professional relief and <bold>found</bold> real autonomy. We conclude with an exploration of the phenomenological notion of “the courage to care.”</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue leaders in England transition through change: Insider and outsider perspectives<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Schools in the 21<sup>st</sup> century have grown increasingly complex and government mandates have compounded this complexity as principals have looked beyond their school to embrace stakeholders and authorities who view education from myriad perspectives. This qualitative case study examined the personal perspectives of leaders, reflecting upon their transition from organisational governance change through the formation of a multi-academy trust. Findings revealed that while the creation of a new school system offered school leaders opportunities for interorganisational transfers and promotions, the internal transition experienced was unexpected and often unaddressed. Leaders expressed their difficulty in reconciling their desire to address the needs of the schools and community through consolidation while maintaining their own health as an individual leader. Findings from this study offer lessons in the importance of examining change both within the organisation through a personal lens as well as an external lens.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue leaders in community secondary schools in rural Tanzania: Challenges and coping strategies<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In Tanzania, many qualified and capable women teachers are not involved in decision making despite the fact that the Tanzania government has affirmed the promotion of women's participation in the decision-making process. Even those few who are in leadership still face obstacles and challenges especially in a rural context. This paper examines the challenges women leaders face and identifies the coping strategies they use to overcome the challenges in Community Secondary Schools (CSSs) in rural Tanzania. The study involved heads of schools, teachers, the Regional Educational Officer (REO) and the District Education Officer (DEO). Data were obtained through interviews and focus group discussions. The findings reveal that women face multi-level challenges with respect to family, society and the education system, most of which arise from early socialisation. Women leaders work in a patriarchal society that does not accept them due to their sex/femininity and there is a lack of trust from their spouses when they execute leadership roles. It was also observed that women leaders face challenges posed by witchcraft and superstition issues in the rural context. In confronting these challenges, women leaders identified cooperation with staff and the community, sharing challenges with experienced leaders, and being creative as useful coping strategies. The study recommends a number of measures for overcoming such challenges at society, organisational and government levels.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue to leadership, not just merit, but insider knowledge: What do school principals say?<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Whilst extensive research has been undertaken concerning educational leadership and management, there is a paucity of scholarship regarding the merit-selection of school leaders other than principals. This is especially true of principal-led merit selection panels convened to recruit middle-level school leaders, namely deputy principals, assistant principals and head teachers. Meritocratic discourse holds that merit-based selection should, ostensibly be an objective, fair and equitable process enabling applicants to compete on a level playing field via a comparative assessment of their capabilities, talents and attitudes. This paper explores the extent to which government school principals in the state of New South Wales Australia, consider the school-based merit selection process they lead is objective and bias-free. Hence, the findings reported here reveal that despite the New South Wales Department of Education (NSWDE) promulgating the primacy of merit in its school-based selection paradigm, non-merit variables (factors having little to do with merit) exert considerable influence over the appointment decisions made by NSWDE principals when assembling their respective school leadership teams.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue leadership practices during the COVID-19 lockdown<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>New Zealand secondary school principals were required to make changes to their leadership practices when schools were closed as part of a national lockdown in response to the COVID-19 situation in early 2020. Eighteen school principals from a range of secondary schools were interviewed about their experiences. The research found that principals engaged in leadership that was relational, distributed and collaborative. They prioritised the wellbeing of teachers and students, responded flexibly to the challenges faced, drew on expertise from both within and outside of the school, and took opportunities to refocus and try new ways of working.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue does it mean to be a principal? A policy researcher’s perspective on the last 30 years in Aotearoa New Zealand<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>In this article I reflect on research relating to school leadership and the use of research to support school leadership over the last 30 years in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Tomorrow’s Schools reforms in 1989 wth its shift to school self-management saw more interest in understanding the size and nature of the principal role. More recently there has been interest among policymakers in using research to support effective school leadership, and revived attention to the place of school leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand’s education system.</p><p>This article is also intended to provide future Aotearoa New Zealand researchers into school leadership with some references they can use to chart how things change if new policy settings and supports for school leadership are introduced as a result of the Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce’s recommendations.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue in our secondary schools: good people, inadequate systems<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The contexts in which Aotearoa New Zealand leaders learn and work have improved in some respects from 30 years ago and deteriorated in others. The improvements include a significant shift away from heroic, often dictatorial, models of leadership towards a greater focus on the many layers and types of leadership required for secondary schools to be successful. The deterioration in leaders being able to learn together across our state school system is created by high levels of competition among state secondary schools and by the inability of the Ministry of Education to have as much influence as might be hoped for in a state education system on the learning – by adults as well as children – in schools. In many parts of the country non- Māori school leaders now have the ability to know much more about hapu and iwi history relevant to their setting than was the case 30 years ago, including through the work of the Waitangi Tribunal.</p><p>The “balkanisation” of our school system has become more pronounced over the last 30 years, as have the challenges resulting from the growing socio-economic divide between our poorest state schools and our most affluent. The “hands-off” approach from the Ministry of Education and successive governments regarding school zones has damaged the integrity and efficiency of our state school system. Several bitter pay disputes between governments of the day and the secondary teachers’ union, the Post-Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) especially, have meant that shared commitments by teachers’ representatives and the Ministry of Education to plan well for teacher supply for our state secondary schools have been difficult to achieve. Teacher supply challenges have added to the pressures on senior and middle leaders of the state schools serving our lowest socio-economic communities especially.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue years of leadership in New Zealand education: From the shadows of management to<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Leadership is now promoted as the sine qua non (essential ingredient) for maintaining and developing effective education in New Zealand. It was not this way in the latter years of the 1980s and through the 1990s, when educational management was the preferred nomenclature. Since the turn of the millennium, management has subsided into the shadows of leadership in New Zealand education as part of a global shift in the education policy lexicon and the Educational Management, Administration and Leadership (EMAL) field. Rather than argue whether leadership should be preferred over management, or vice versa, this article focuses on the rise of leadership in New Zealand education over the last 30 years.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue evolution in distributed educational leadership: From sole leader to co-principalship<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This paper traverses changes in perceptions of the school principal’s role, from sole to distributed leadership practices. A brief commentary on selected New Zealand literature is followed by a case study of a secondary co-principalship that identifies adaptive strategies and success factors in this joint role. The potentiality of the national Leadership Strategy (2018) and Educational Leadership Capability Framework (2018) to impact these distributed features will then be explored. The paper concludes with suggestions for future directions for distributed leadership practice in New Zealand.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue tēnei te wā…. Te Tiriti o Waitangi education, teacher education, and early childhood care and education<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This paper offers a brief personal reflection on some leadership related observations from work as an early childhood teacher educator over the past thirty years. Te Tiriti o Waitangi education is a specific area that has previously not been sufficiently prioritised and has only comparatively recently been affirmed in government policy as a key focus of education henceforth. This paper reflects on some of the underlying reasons for this omission within education, pointing to notions of white supremacy in the colonialist assumption of sovereignty and ongoing racism that has negatively impacted on educational experiences and outcomes for Māori in Aotearoa and has also resulted in the degradation of our environment despite Tiriti o Waitangi assurances about the sustenance of rangatiratanga and protection of taonga which should have supported ongoing kaitiakitanga of te taiao. Some hopeful recent policy initiatives are acknowledged. It finishes with recognition of the current climate emergency and the need for urgent educational leadership required in response.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue leaders’ perceptions on comprehensive school counseling (CSC) evaluation processes: Adherence and implementation of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Throughout their K-12 educational experience, students should have access to resources, educators, counselors, and specialists to help meet their academic, social, emotional, college, and career needs. When school leaders or principals work in collaboration with school counselors, often school climate is more positive for students, faculty, and stakeholders. However, many school leaders do not receive proper training to evaluate school counselors. The purpose of the study is to explore school leaders’ perspectives of processes, policies, and trends in school counselor evaluation. The amount and type of support school counselors receive from their school leaders is important in developing and maintaining a progressive comprehensive school counseling (CSC) program for all students, but leaders must be familiar with CSC in order to appropriately evaluate school counselors. The results indicate that while delivery of a CSC program may be important, the evaluation process may be limited in its utility to help school counselors adhere to and implement the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model, which includes foundation, management, accountability, and delivery components. More research is needed regarding what content should be included in a school counselor evaluation.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue systems perspective on exploring the sustainability of leadership initiatives in a secondary school setting<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This paper uses a systems approach to examine the implementation of a design thinking (DT) initiative in a Singaporean secondary school setting. In particular, the paper uses the systems representational tools attributed to <xref ref-type="bibr" rid="j_jelpp-2019-001_ref_038">Senge (1990)</xref> to better understand the factors and relationships that underpin successful change initiatives in terms of the change process and related outcomes. The systems approach sheds light not only on those managerial and behavioural factors that facilitate initial acceptance and adoption of the design thinking change initiative, but also those factors that might inhibit or undermine ongoing change and success. As such, the paper provides interpretive insight about what constitutes effective systemic change in the implementation of design thinking, and on the nature of individual managerial intervention necessary to sustain ongoing and effective use of the design thinking and other initiatives.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue