SCHOOL BOARD LEADERSHIP
FOUNDATION FOR HOPEFUL LEARNING CENTERS
April 26, 2009
Schools should be centers for learning par excellence. Most school board elections are to be held this year on May 19. This is a time when the voters can and should take an active role in the selection of leadership policy makers for their local school district. Leadership in education requires the highest level of competence guided by compelling professional principles.
Excellence in education begins with sound leadership... from the school board through the administration to the school classroom. Today in many of our schools we find some of the finest students, creative teachers and caring staff, competent administrators, and responsive school board members. And those who are not, somehow know they are not, but may find it difficult to admit it. However, most will admit that high quality dynamic leadership is required at all levels and it begins at the top and flows through the entire system.
School boards are an important part of our republic. The corporate body of trustees of a school district has major public responsibility doing the business of the people as pubic trustees. And trustees occupy positions of trust in the performance of their pubic duties. Clearly, the performance of members of public boards call for the highest level of prudent policy making based upon the highest of ethical values. And this same level of excellence in leadership must be found in the chief executive officer of the school district and all other administrative, supervisory, and teaching personnel. As a public, we should expect no less.
The best schools we have found consist of high- level learning centers comprised of "hopeful" learning spaces for hopeful learning students. And motivated hope-filled learning begins in the classroom, guided by truly skilled teachers with competent administrators in charge, spearheaded by highly dedicated ethically driven policy making on the part of the board of education. Single item agenda, ego centric, vindictively centered personalities on a board are a serious distraction if not deterrent to goodness and progress.
The productivity and ingenuity of Americans everywhere is the envy of the world. And much of this ingenuity began and begins in the classrooms across America. A substantial part of the genius of American education is found in our educational institutions. These institutions have contributed to the success of the American enterprise. American innovation and productivity are leading the way in this information age. Few nations in history have been granted such a singular opportunity to help shape the future of so many people around the world. And principled leadership is desperately needed in all aspects of American life. And much of it begins right where we are... in the homes and in the classrooms across America.
Today, we see evidence of an American public in a quandary over what in style and substance represents best those underpinnings of authentic leadership. Most Americans cherish an inner desire for competent leaders who display moral authority based upon moral rectitude. And this too is the hope of most Americans for our schools today. Creative desires and expectations of excellence on the part of prudent educators and principled school board members serve as the essential building blocks for quality schools. For successful learning is accentuated in an atmosphere where there are conscientiously dedicated hopeful learning spaces, guided by inspiring educators.
As we see it, principled leadership is influence and guided by core beliefs and virtues that mobilize people to accomplish a mission based upon a vision. A principled leader does NOT shirk from responsibility. In the words of Winston Churchill: "Someone has to take responsibility, I will." This leadership requires solid character, sound competence, and genuine commitment that is coherent with one's core beliefs and virtues. It is this alignment which gives rise to one's trustworthiness. And core beliefs define what is fundamentally true, important, and right for virtues are the standards against which ethical behavior is measured. In short, successful leaders concentrate on doing the right thing. It often requires an abundance of courage. To be sure, inspired leadership and courage go hand–in-hand.
Sustained excellence from the board room to the classroom requires adherence to ethical values and determined perseverance. These core values are the touchstones for leading and the ethical lodestars for action. It is by firmly holding to one's principles, and acting on one's convictions that one earns the right to lead.
We want to express a word of "appreciation" and "encouragement" to those singular individuals who are notably our finest of school leaders from the students in the classroom, their parents, their teachers and school staff, the administration and to the members of the many boards of education. Those individuals, who particularly stand out, are role models of excellence and are so much a part of the underpinnings of what makes America great! And that is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.