(Technology) Leadership Philosophy
In over fifteen years of working in the educational technology field I have developed a number of principles I base my (technology) leadership vision and philosophy around. These principles are cultivated from working closely with students, teachers, parents, leadership teams, and school boards in all the schools I have worked in. Naturally I have evolved my thinking over the years with hindsight, experience, and reflection. What I may have taken on board eagerly ten years ago; I may not now. What I may not have taken into account 5 years ago; I may take into consideration today.
I believe these are broad leadership principles that can be applied across a broader spectrum of educational scenarios. As the years have gone on, technology in education has been constantly debated to the point of repetition. I have put technology in brackets in my philosophy document as it has become a word that gets pinned up and paraded as a sometimes contentious and sometimes lauded talking point where it really shouldn’t be. Technology is a set of tools and approaches that we should use to enhance teaching and learning. It should just exist in schools in a healthy and balanced environment; mirroring the positive aspects of technology use from both our teachers’ and students’ outside lives.
The key question that guides my leadership philosophy is ‘How will this improve student learning?’. I believe every discussion, decision, and action we take in a school should be guided by this essential question. My role as a leader is to ensure effective practices and procedures are in place in order to model this philosophy and have it permeate throughout the school; advocating for every learner, every day.
Creating a positive and professional learning culture ensures the question of ‘how this improves student learning’ is at the heart of all discussions and decisions. Through understanding that teacher effectiveness is a powerful influencer on student learning and that every teacher can improve, I believe a positive and professional learning culture can thrive. We are then empowered to put professional growth into our practice and insist we are held accountable to our students.
Leading and maintaining current knowledge in the areas of curriculum, assessment, and international education ensures alignment with improved student learning. Understanding and implementing research based pedagogy ensures our students have a relevant and challenging learning environment. I believe keeping current in these areas allows us as educators to meet the needs of the whole child, including academic, social, and emotional.
Open communication and effective feedback empowers students to have ownership over their own learning by understanding where they are in their learning and using the timely and effective teacher feedback to move beyond. Communication and feedback also allow our parents to grow as critical partners in their child’s learning. I establish and promote the value of feedback amongst all stakeholders in the school.
Remaining current, connected, and reflective as an educator demonstrates accountability for the school’s mission and vision. I believe we need to collaborate and engage with each other so as not to limit our perspectives.Through this self awareness I can continue to monitor and enhance my leadership skills, while supporting my teachers as they work with the students each and every day, impacting their learning.
Instilling a balance of both consistency and growth in a school supports the school’s mission, vision, and strategic plan as living documents. Knowing your school and where it is on their journey, supports being the change agent it needs. As a visiting team member for IB, CIS and WASC, I hold the accreditation process in high regards as it is a critical process in which we continually grow and improve as a school. This process requires the voice of our students, as they are directly impacted by any changes in their learning environment.