Victor A. Montemurro   
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Comprehensive Doctoral
Digital Portfolio

The School of Education and Human Services

St. John's University

 

Leadership

Courses in this section of the Learner Folio include Administrative Leadership in Schools, Educational Planning, and Research and Development in Innovative Strategies.

As a classroom teacher of thirty years, I've had to come to an understanding of myself as a leader who has not followed a conventional path to leadership. Some of the roles I have played over the course of my career are curriculum leader and writer in both theater and English language arts, theater program director, teacher association building representative, English department lead teacher and middle schools' technology staff developer.

I've brought to the St. John's program some experiences in teacher leadership and certain notions about leadership based on those experiences that emanate from the classroom. The program and the cohort model have afforded me the opportunity understand myself and my experiences as a member of a school community in terms that are both broader and also more specific. I have been able to see my role as a classroom teacher in context of the school system and its social action plan. The various lenses or frameworks for understanding schools and those who participate in the work of leadership of schools have given me specific knowledge with which to continue to be helpful to schools and teachers. My hope and goal is to be able to continue to serve and help beyond my classroom teaching career, but for the present, I continue to serve from the classroom.

The 2004-2005 school year begins my thirtieth year as a classroom teacher and with the new year comes new leadership roles. This year I will serve as a mentor to a young beginning teacher and participate in the district and teacher association collaboration on mentoring in accordance with state mandates. Additionally, I have been recently appointed (August 2004) to Patchogue-Medford Congress of Teachers' executive committee as co-chair for publications. This role involves the coordination of four publications for internal and community communication and a website. I will also continue roles begun last year as a member of the board of directors of the Mideast Suffolk Teacher Resource and Computer Training Center (MESTRACT) and a member of the Patchogue-Medford Schools' district wide professional development committee.

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School systems, schools and classrooms are complex organizations that are part of the community and are subjected to the the pressures and paradoxes of politics, competing interests, and ideology. Leadership is a matter of accepting the irrational in human nature and in one's self and understanding how the irrational influences human behavior in the organization or community. Leadership is an aspect of human nature that becomes a deliberate choice of individuals who often envision an ideal of sacrifice of self-interest for a greater community good. Leaders must understand themselves setting aside their own emotions to understand the passions of others who are frequently positioned by emotional confusion and self-absorption. Leadership is the act of helping others overcome the selfish and irrational aspects of their behavior by teaching about the leadership, service and caring capacities of human nature. Once understood, the higher qualities of the ideal of leadership may be applied to the organization and the community.

Leadership models:

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Lambert (2002): Reciprocal processes of communication and relationship

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Bryk & Schneider (2002): Sociological  model of relational trust

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Schein (1992): Organizational culture model and the learning leader as culture manager

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Stone (1997): Political model of strategic representation

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Patterson, Purkey & Parker (1986): Leadership in the non-rational world

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Carlson (1996): Overview of leadership theory

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Business model: Toyota Production System (Spear, S. & Bowen, H. K., 1999) Bennis (1994), Drucker (1996).

The leader in an organization must be the lead learner and he or she must exemplify the values and vision of continuous improvement and inquiry. The challenge is to communicate to all members of the organization that learning together as a team is paramount, more important to the organization and to the community than individual ego. Individuals must be strong enough to engage in personal mastery of self for the sake of the group (Senge, 1990). Personal mastery is not a matter of individual self-interest but one of group and community interest. Bennis (1994) asserts that leaders must be fully self-aware individuals who learn from their own experiences and are willing to communicate and express themselves. Self-awareness, self-expression, and the ability to motivate others to learn and grow as members of a team that shares a vision are essential characteristics learning leader.

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Learning to lead is learning to be yourself; learning to understand one's strengths and weaknesses; knowing how to communicate; knowing how to gain cooperation and support (Bennis, 1989).

 

 
Policy and Politics
Leadership
Organizational Theory
Management Science
Research Methodology

What's New! 

"Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty."
   --Albert Einstein

 

 

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dotSJU School of Education Comprehensive Digital Portfolio Copyright 2004 by Victor A. Montemurro