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Running Header: Critical Element #1: The Principals Role as a Leader of Services

The Principals Role as a Leader of Services -Critical Element Paper #2 Presented to the Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education University of Northern Iowa -In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master of Arts in Education or Advanced Studies Certificate -by Deborah F. Cleveland AEA PD Online Johnston, Iowa 11/15/2013 -Dr. Charles McNulty

Critical Elements: The Principals Role as a Leader of Service

Introduction A servant-leader is a person of character who puts people first. He or she is a skilled communicator, a compassionate collaborator who has foresight, is a systems thinker, and leads with moral authority. Frick & Sipe, 2009, Introduction From this definition of Servant Leadership it is possible to identify the Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership or the major tenets of Servant Leadership. They are: 1. Person of character 2. Puts people first 3. Skilled communicator 4. Compassionate communicator 5. Foresight 6. Systems thinking 7. Leads with moral authority What does the research say? In their book, From Good To Great Schools: What Their Principals Do Well, Susan Penny Grey and William A. Streshly build on the initial research of Jim Collins. Their goal was to determine if there are characteristics of successful school leadership could be correlated to long-term educational success and see if the absence of these characteristics were the reason so many school leaders fail. In an effort to reach these goals, they modified Collins interview questions from the corporate context to the context of public education. They then interviewed principals whose schools had made and sustained great gains in student achievement and

Critical Elements: The Principals Role as a Leader of Service compared those answers to those of principals at comparison schools where the gains were good, but did not move to great (Grey and Streshly, 2008, p. 4). The study revealed that schools that moved from good to great had leaders that exhibited specific attributes or characteristics. When examined closely connections between Grey and Streshlys findings can be connected to the Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership.

Attributes Identified by Grey and Streshlys Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership (Major Research Tenets of Servant Leadership) Build Relationships Skilled Communicator Openly communicates Listens Involves staff in decision making Speaks effectively Promotes collaboration Demonstrates genuine interest, warmth, and respect Culture of caring and respect (Frick and Sipe, 2009, Chapter 3) (Grey and Streshly, 2008, p. 15-16). Compassionate Collaborator Strives to build collaborative teams and communities (Frick and Sipe, 2009, Chapter 4) Moral Authority Shares power and control (by seeing all people in the organization as having an integral voice in the work not just someone to carry out the leaders wishes) (Frick and Sipe, 2009, Chapter 7) Has Ambition for the Success of the School Person of Character Puts school above personal ambitions Authentic and humble Values staff development Leads by conscience, not ego (Grey and Streshly, 2008, p. 15-16) Committed to the desire to serve something beyond oneself (Frick and Sipe, 2009, Chapter 1) Puts People First Self-interest is deeply connected to the needs and interests of others Serves in a manner that allows those served to grow as persons. (Frick and Sipe, 2009, Chapter 2)

Critical Elements: The Principals Role as a Leader of Service

Exudes a Culture of Discipline Foresight Maintains a vision focusing on student Visionary achievement; while at the same time (Frick and Sipe, 2009, Chapter 5) empowering teachers to determining the best way for reaching their objectives (Grey and Streshly, 2008, p. 93) Exhibits the hedgehog concept Be like the hedgehog, focus on one organizing idea and use it to unify and guide everything. (Grey and Streshly, 2008, p. 82) Gets First WhoThen What Systems Thinker Gets the right people into the right Integrates input from all parties in the positions in their school system to reach goals Manipulates the system inputs to get the Able to lead and manage change best results (Frick and Sipe, 2009, Chapter 6) (Grey and Streshly, 2008, p. 7)

The principal attributes that Grey and Streshly identified in their research support the seven pillars of servant leadership. Schools and students alike would benefit from leaders using the seven pillars as a lens in which to examine and reflect on their practice. How do the Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership connect to ISSL? Just as it is possible to draw connections between the research on good to great principals and the Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership, it is also possible to draw connections between the pillars and the Iowa Standards for School Leadership (ISSL). ISSL 1 is focused on the idea of shared vision that is focused on improving student achievement and instructional programs. It also sets the expectation that this vision will be communicated out to stakeholders (School Administrators of Iowa, 2007, p. 1). This standard reflects competencies directly related to foresight and skilled communicator.

Critical Elements: The Principals Role as a Leader of Service

ISSL 2 is focused on promoting the success of all students by cultivating and maintaining a culture that supports student learning and professional development (School Administrators of Iowa, 2007, p. 1). Much of this standard can be aligned to the pillars of skilled communicators (demonstrates genuine interest, warmth, and respect), compassionate collaborator, and puts people first. ISSL 3 is about management of the organization, operations, and resources so that the learning environment is effective and safe for students and staff. ISSL 6 addresses the context (political, social, economic, legal, and cultural) of the school (School Administrators of Iowa, 2007, p. 1). The Servant Leadership pillars also address these areas. It asks leaders to manage all of the inputs from the system to promote the success of the organization or to engage in systems thinking. Collaboration among and between families and community members by responding to diverse community interests and needs is addressed in ISSL 4. This connects directly to the servant leadership pillar of compassionate collaborator. Compassionate collaborators strive to build collaborative teams and communities that work together to achieve a common goal. ISSL 5 sets the expectation that educational leaders act with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner (School Administrators of Iowa, 2007, p. 1). This standard correlates with the pillars of skilled communicator, person of character, and moral authority. Each of these pillars addresses competencies related to respect, shared power and decision making, and conscience. How do these tenets relate to the experiences I have had during my internship? What actions have I taken as an aspiring leader that demonstrates my functioning as a Leader of Service? How will I build on these actions as a leader?

Critical Elements: The Principals Role as a Leader of Service As discussed above, it is easy to connect the Pillars of Servant Leadership with ISSL. On

the internship side, program participants are asked to connect their internship experiences with the Iowa Standards for School Leaders. The process of connecting the pillars of servant leadership and internship experiences to ISSL makes it easy to see the connections between internship experiences and the Pillars of Servant Leadership. Perhaps one of the best examples of servant leadership that I have observed so far involves an administrators ability to collaboratively create and sustain a vision for what a school will look like while working within the constraints of the system. Time and time again, Ive observed this administrator making due with limited resources and/or working through system barriers with grace and humility. He understands that his work is for the greater good of student learning, is dedicated to the work, and at the end of the day takes very little credit for his schools successes. Ultimately, the tenets of servant leadership serve as an excellent lens in which to look through when reflecting on my internship experiences and my future actions as a leader in education. I am confident that knowing the tenets of servant leadership will help keep my future practices as an educational leader aligned to them.

Critical Elements: The Principals Role as a Leader of Service References

Frick, D. & Sipe, J. (2009). Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership: Practicing the Wisdom of Leading by Serving. [Kindle Version]. Retrieved from Gray, S & Streshly, W. (2008). From Good Schools to Great Schools: What Their Principals Do Well. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc. School Administrators of Iowa. (Nov. 2007). Iowa Standards for School Leaders. Retrieved from