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
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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
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
Lambert (2002): Reciprocal processes of
communication and relationship
Bryk & Schneider (2002): Sociological
model of relational trust
Schein (1992): Organizational culture model
and the learning leader as culture manager
Stone (1997): Political model of
Patterson, Purkey & Parker (1986):
Leadership in the non-rational world
Carlson (1996): Overview of leadership
Business model: Toyota Production System
(Spear, S. & Bowen, H.
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
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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