According to studies, effective education leadership makes a difference in improving learning. Leadership matters insofar as it is second to teaching which brings impact on student learning.
Research also shows that the impact of leadership tends to be greatest in schools were the learning needs of students are most acute.
High-quality leaders achieve this impact by setting directions. They chart a clear course that everyone understands, established high expectations and use data to track progress and performance.
Second, they “develop” people. Teachers are given the necessary support and training to succeed. They also make the organization work, and ensure that the entire range of conditions and incentives in districts and schools fully support rather than inhabit teaching and learning.
Yes, there are different approaches to school reform. To be successful, they defend on the motivations and capacities of local leadership. Improving student learning is just within reach if district and school leaders agree with its purposes and appreciate what is required to make it work.
Leaders must also be able to help their colleagues understand how the externally-initiated reform might be integrated into local improvement efforts. They must be able to win the cooperation and support of parents and others in the local community. With all these, effective leadership is critical to school reform.
A successful leadership has a significant role in improving student learning. Leadership is second only to classroom instruction that contribute to what students learn at school. Studies have shown that the total effects of leadership on student learning – whether direct or indirect – account for about a quarter of total school effects. There should therefore be widespread interest in improving leadership as a key to the successful implementation of large scale reform.
For some leaders, the greater the challenge, the greater the impact of their actions on learning. There are significant effects of leadership actions on student learning in schools – especially schools which are in difficult situations. Therefore, there is a need to add to the leadership capacities of underperforming schools as part of their improvement efforts or as part of school reconstruction.
There is still much more to learn about the essentials of quality leadership, how to harness its benefits, and how to ensure that they are not thrown into bad systems that will affect their performance.