Speaking Out on Education Leadership

In the latest installment of Principal Magazine's Speaking Out , Joseph Murphy outlines a three-layered model of school leadership. He contends that three essential elements of educational leadership are acting from the heart, attending to the laws of school improvement, and practicing the craft of promoting academic press and community-anchored schooling.

Murphy argues that the "bedrock" of good leadership is the passion that leaders have for their work. Putting their hearts and souls into their job is what makes for a truly successful principal. However, although this passion is essential, it is not sufficient on its own to leading a great school.

Less romantic—though equally as important to effective leadership—are the rules that shape school improvement. Murphy argues that principals may be passionate about their improvement efforts, but understanding context and being realistic about goals are a must. Principals should prioritize the actual impact and results of school improvement measures, and be able to recognize failures as well as success.

Finally, Murphy focuses on academic press and a community-anchored learning environment. Academically pressing students to achieve learning goals, and providing rigorous instruction is key. It's also necessary to create a community of learners and educators, where teachers, students, and parents are working together towards common goals.

Murphy concludes that principals should examine where their leadership falls in each of these layers in order to improve. Do you agree that his three-layer model is an effective and helfpul way to outline educational leadership? Respond in the comment section below.