Leadership: An Imperative for Successful Change


Our society has charged schools with delivering a high quality, multi-discipline education to all students. To complicate this mandate, never before have students come to the public school from such diverse backgrounds, family patterns, and native languages. An increasing array of problems makes life difficult for many of our children and their families. It goes without saying that school, also, is all too frequently difficult for these children and for the educators who try to serve their needs.

Happily, there is no shortage of programs, processes, and school practices deemed effective for students at-risk of failure in schools and, subsequently, in adult life. What appears to be needed, however, is school leadership that provides the knowledge, understanding, and expertise required for working with school staffs to develop and/or transplant promising practices to schools at-risk of failing their educational mission.

In the previous Issues...about Change (Winter, 1990), the need to understand and manage the process of school change was discussed. Moving from that discussion, this paper takes a brief look at what leadership does to actively manage the process in order to make schools more successful with all students. Who are the people who supply the leadership, and what do they do in this vital leadership role? These two questions guide the discussion that follows.

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Published in Issues ...about Change Volume 1, Number 2, Leadership: An Imperative for Successful Change (2000)