Leadership and Principalship

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to one another” – JFK

At the beginning of last year I began in the role of Principal. I’d had different leadership roles before this, including acting principal for 5 weeks, but there was a clear shift in now having the top responsibility. There were many challenges; the move from peer to line manager, learning new systems, learning HR and building other management skills to name a few.

But as I continued my leadership journey, I really felt to be privileged to be working with such a motivated and cohesive team of educators. Clarifying common purpose and goals was our starting point as when times get tough, having clear purpose is a critical fallback and re-motivator.

To coincide with my new role, I used the SA Inspirational Public Teaching Award grant to begin a Master of Instructional Leadership at Melbourne University. The course was recommended by AITSL and had some excellent professors running subjects. The first subject was Visible Learning with the eminent John Hattie. It was an incredible opportunity to meet colleagues from around the nation and also hear from someone as well versed as Prof. Hattie. Later in the year I completed leading teaching and learning with Professor Steven Dinham, which was equally engaging and reflective.

In the schools of effective leaders, teachers teach well and students learn well.

The above is obviously true, but I would add that in the schools of effective leaders, it is actually everyone who learns well.

Having the opportunity for such professional learning is something that has developed me immensely as an educator. I have many around me to thank for this, but ultimately the educators whom I respect and follow actively seek out opportunities that improve their practice.

Technology is now allowing ever more ways for educators to connect, learn, engage and reflect. There are constantly evolving tools to help to become part of a network of educators, be it though Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Blogs, Diigo (social bookmarking) or TeachMeets. An effective leader never thinks their current knowledge base is sufficient and not only reinforces high quality teaching, but also supports meaningful and targeted professional learning as well.