A New Level of Distributed Leadership

Multiple layers of responsibility demand a new approach to the principal’s role.

Topics: Principal Leadership, Teacher Effectiveness

Kaylen Tucker, Ph.D.

Over the years, Principal magazine has compared the role of the principal to conducting an orchestra, juggling multiple hats, or coaching to bring out the best in each player. But these metaphors all depend on a “lone ranger” approach to leadership.

The reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a “layering effect” of principals’ responsibilities, which, according to the Leaders We Need Now research series, will require some reconfiguration and specialization to be more manageable. For example, the second brief in the series, “Evolution of the Principal,” explains that principals will need to rethink their leadership teams and consider new models for distributed leadership.

This issue of Principal magazine explores the various avenues principals can take to expand and strengthen their school’s leadership teams. From tips on delegating tasks to teachers and staff, to empowering educators through collective learning, to maximizing communities of practice and doubling down on standards-based professional learning, this issue has you covered.

And if your school is like many in the nation and still struggling to fill positions a quarter into the school year, “Staffing to Make the Pandemic Pivots Permanent” highlights some of the innovations schools are using to address shortages.

We hope this issue provides you with the guidance you need as you explore new ways to share leadership, support your staff, and encourage their ongoing development.

—Kaylen Tucker, Ph.D. Editor-in-Chief