District Leadership Role
The district leadership role, especially that of the superintendent, in transformational and distributive leadership development within the district and schools is what makes or breaks impactful change. For any level of organizational or building wide change to occur the district leadership must be involved. This involvement may vary depending on the scope and scale of not only the change sought but also on the size of the school system.
District leadership must be able to establish the expectations, link to the district improvement plan, communicate the what and why to stakeholders and allocate resources accordingly. Resources allocation such as time, people and budget will help to ensure successful processes and implementation but also communicates a message to all stakeholders about the level of value the district leadership places on the task.
The Stanford Redesign Network published Distributive Leadership in District Reform: A Model for Taking Linked Learning to Scale (2010). They suggest district leadership conduct an initial environmental scan of the district leadership by asking and answering the following:
1. What role is the district leadership team playing in strategically developing the leadership capacity of others at district and school levels?
2. To what extent are site-based leadership teams, including teacher leaders, encouraged and provided sufficient autonomy to make important decisions?
3. What benefit or challenge might surface if the district were to shift to a more distributive leadership model?
A fourth question should be; What resource allocations of time, people and budget do we need to provide to ensure impact?
These seem like very common sense questions to ask at the beginning of any endeavor and coupled with collaboration, vision and sound processes they are likely to increase the likelihood of effective transformational change. To ensure even greater success the superintendent must be visibly supportive of the goal with the public, Board of Education and staff and ensure accountability for implementation.