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Educational Leadership Philosophy

Jan. 23, 2020

An education leader selects a student with his hand raised.

Educational Leadership Philosophy

Strong educational leadership empowers great schools to thrive and troubled schools to transform. In fact, educational leaders rank second only to teachers in their importance in student learning, according to the landmark report “How Leadership Influences Student Learning” by The Wallace Foundation. The best principals and administrators build school environments that enable teachers to flourish and, in turn, students to excel. School leaders do this by giving clear direction, cultivating the talent of teachers, and establishing high expectations for students and teachers.

To address the challenges in education, such as closing the achievement gap and ensuring that diverse student populations meet national standards, leaders in education must develop evidence-based approaches. With a thoughtful educational leadership philosophy, school leaders can tackle the obstacles that prevent students from thriving.

Developing the skills to effectively lead in education demands an in-depth understanding of instructional policies and strategies, collaboration in school settings, and school organization. Those interested in creating strong educational communities and directing positive change should explore the LSU Online Master of Education in Educational Leadership. By earning this degree, graduates gain the skills and knowledge needed to become trusted leaders and make meaningful differences in the lives of students and teachers.

What Components Constitute an Educational Leadership Philosophy?

Becoming an educational leader requires a clear philosophy and a plan for implementing that philosophy. The following are key components that constitute an educational leadership philosophy.

Core Beliefs About Leadership in Education

Principals and school administrators need core beliefs about what it means to serve as an effective and inspirational leader. These beliefs can come from experience as a teacher under an effective or ineffective leader, literature, and experience in leadership positions. Regardless of origin, school administrators should know how to articulate why they hold their beliefs. They should also have a plan for how to motivate teachers and students to reach goals and develop a leadership style that creates a community that trusts them.

For example, principals and school administrators often use different styles of leadership, pulling aspects from various styles to form personalized versions.

  • Servant leadership, for instance, focuses on providing the conditions that enable students and teachers to succeed. Using this style, school leaders build a culture of trust through guidance, consensus building, and listening.
  • Transformational leadership focuses on giving teachers and students a sense of ownership over what they do in order to motivate them. It honors the knowledge and abilities of teachers and gives them the independence to develop curricula and be creative.

School communities are inherently collaborative. As a result, school leaders should consider how to use their leadership positions to create an atmosphere of teamwork. They must also consider how to make themselves accessible to the concerns of teachers and students. Ultimately, school leaders with thoughtful philosophies about leadership can better empower teachers and students to do their best work.

A Meaningful Vision

An educational leadership philosophy must have a vision. School leaders must adopt a vision that they believe encompasses the best teaching practices and most valuable learning goals. They must demonstrate that their vision aligns with the core values and ideas of their teachers and must demonstrate that the goals they want to achieve are important.

They must then communicate their vision to teachers and staff, ensuring that everyone holds a common understanding of the school’s direction. Some school leaders find value in seeking input from their staff regarding school vision, believing it improves buy-in when the people involved in manifesting a vision help develop it. Likewise, laying out incremental steps that show how a school community can achieve a vision encourages everyone to meet goals.

Core Beliefs About Teaching and Learning

Many factors influence and determine student learning. School leaders must possess a comprehensive system of beliefs about what meaningful instruction looks like. This often includes considering the following questions:

  • What type of instructional designs and which types of learning experiences make the greatest impact on students?
  • How should a school integrate special education into its overall curriculum?
  • What technology should a school use to deliver instruction, and how?

A philosophy of how to best support teachers must also guide school leaders. Teachers with varying levels of experience, different skills, and an array of talents make up school communities. As a result, school leaders need to tailor their support and tap into the different abilities of the people they lead. For example, novice and veteran teachers may benefit from very different kinds of professional development. A one-size-fits-all approach to professional development often fails someone in the teaching community.

Learn How To Make a Difference as a School Leader

Establishing a layered, nuanced educational leadership philosophy takes time. However, by devoting years to classroom teaching and building knowledge through the right education, school leaders can make a huge impact in the field of education. The LSU Online Master of Education in Educational Leadership is designed to train aspiring school leaders. Students study topics such as best leadership practices for principals, ethics in leadership, and methods in school improvement, preparing them to inspire and guide their fellow educators.

Developing expertise in educational leadership enables school leaders to transform schools. Discover how earning the LSU Online Master of Education in Educational Leadership can launch a career as a successful school leader.

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