EDA 551 Supervision & Instructional Leadership
Kenneth S. Wormack
Grand Canyon University
December 5, 2012
While it is indeed true that both times and people change, the infamous question looming in my mind remains, “At what or whose expense do we endure these changes?” I have served at my present school for more than fourteen years. Over those fourteen years, I’ve had four different principals, all with differing styles of leadership and supervision. With this in mind, in this paper, I will assess my school and the leadership style of these four administrators, whether their styles were conventional, congenial, or collegial, as well as the resulting supervisory climate. As a frustrated future Administrative Visionary, it is my hope that this experience will prepare me for what lies ahead and give me the tools to be effective for the good of all stakeholders. Should a Change in Leadership affect the School Climate?
I have been my present school for about sixteen years. For eight of those years, we were a School of Distinction, under the leadership of ‘Principal One’. The administration was very collegial, in terms of its’ leadership style. The students were very engaged and surrounded by teachers who cared. Collegiality was the order of the day. We were like one “instrument,” ‘Supervising-Teacher-Leader-Administrative Visionaries.’ Teachers participated in the observation process, suggesting Professional Development experiences that we would like to have. In no sense of the word were we treated like “factory workers.” All stakeholders, board members, community leaders, parents, teachers and administrators were involved in the instructional supervision process. Per the definition of Instructional Supervision, there was constant support, monitoring, assessment and evaluation of what we taught. While ‘Principal One’ never crossed the line, there was a familial rapport and a definite respect for what was going on in the classroom. Admittedly, we did not always agree with everything she did, because her supervision and leadership style was anything but conventional. We all knew that her retirement was imminent, after more than thirty years in education, but little did we realize that her departure would result in a major paradigm shift, on numerous fronts that none of us would have ever guessed, and certainly did not expect. Can Conventional Supervision and Leadership Divide a School?
One would think that once a teacher at a particular school grows to a point of becoming an administrator, and is afforded the opportunity to lead at the same school where they once worked as a classroom teacher, that they would be sensitive and even familiar with what worked and continue it. However, when ‘Principal Two,’ a former math teacher at our school, returned, he had an agenda. Much to our surprise, he replaced the Principal One’s Assistant Principal with the one he had at his last school, leaving this seasoned, award-winning, Assistant Principal without employment. He, then, dissolved the long-standing relationship between the administration and the staff, by only conversing with the new teachers, and alienating the older ones. As Gordon, Ross-Gordon and Glickman note in chapter one of the text, if Principal Two asked himself, “1. What type of school do I desire? and, 2. What type of educational environment should supervision promote in order to move toward the school I desire?” Evidently, his reply was as debilitating as was his leadership style destructive to the ultimate wellness of the school. By the time this Principal Two was promoted to lead a high school in the county, he had released several of the older, more-experienced educators and replaced them with younger, even some straight-out-of-college teachers! Of course, they were lacking in classroom management skills - thus, began the...