Enhancing Leadership Capacity Through Distributed Leadership
Why should states focus on distributed leadership?
REDUCING THE BURDEN ON PRINCIPALS
We all know great principals can have a tremendous impact on whether students and teachers are successful. Principals foster success by setting high expectations and establishing a culture of instructional excellence. But the job has grown. Nearly every education reform being adopted by states involves adding new responsibilities and expertise for the school leader.
SCHOOL LEADERSHIP NEEDS TO BE A TEAM ENDEAVOR
After years of studying successful school leaders, the Wallace Foundation cites the cultivation of leadership in others as one of five key practices of an effective school principal. When schools rely on an outdated model, in which nearly all responsibility and authority is vested in a single leader, the principal shoulders a great burden and the talents and capabilities of teachers to make an impact beyond the classroom are untapped, leaving teachers frustrated.
A MORE EFFECTIVE MODEL
Distributed leadership models emphasize specific roles for teachers in carrying out certain leadership practices. This allows responsibility for leadership to be widely distributed across the school.
The benefits are twofold: effective teachers experience professional growth while continuing to teach in the classroom, and principals have more time to focus on other duties. And research shows that teachers’ working relationships are stronger and student achievement is higher when principals and teachers share leadership (Seashore Louis, Leithwood, Walhstrom, and Anderson, 2010).