With the inevitable turnover of principals in our schools comes reflection on the characteristics of an effective instructional leader.  I am fortunate to work in a school district that offers many examples of great leaders and not all of them are school principals.  I have learned that leadership is not defined by position.  I believe it is defined by character and action.  Within those broad categories I refer to a couple of quotes often:

“Leaders are not, as we are often led to think, people who go along with huge crowds following them. Leaders are people who go their own way without caring, or even looking to see, whether anyone is following them. “Leadership qualities” are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them. They include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, stubbornness, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head, even when things are going badly. True leaders, in short, do not make people into followers, but into other leaders.” ~ John Holt

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” ~ Lao Tzu

Both quotes speak deeply to me and the crux of the matter really boils down to service.  My responsibility is to develop leaders in all positions and nurture critical characteristics imperative to lead our school district in the future.  I am looking forward to this challenge!


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