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Leadership Content Knowledge Author(s): Mary Kay Stein and Barbara S.

Nelson Source: Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Vol. 25, No. 4, Special Issue on Educational Leadership (Winter, 2003), pp. 423-448 Published by: American Educational Research Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3699585 . Accessed: 14/04/2014 15:41
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EducationalEvaluationand Policy Analysis Winter2003, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 423-448

Leadership Content Knowledge


Mary Kay Stein Universityof Pittsburgh Barbara S. Nelson
Education Development Center Drawing inspiration from Shulman's(1986) constructofpedagogical contentknowledge,wepropose that leadership contentknowledge is a missing paradigmin the analysis of school and district leadership. After defining leadership content knowledge as that knowledgeof academic subjects that is used by administratorswhen theyfunction as instructional leaders, we present three cases of instructionalleadership-situated at differentschool and districtlevels-and examineeachfor evidence of leadership content knowledge in use. Based on a cross-case analysis, we argue that as administrativelevels increaseandfunctions becomebroader,leadershipcontentknowledgebecomeslessfinegrained, thoughalways anchored in knowledgeof the subject,how it is learned (by adults as well as students),and how it is taught. We go on to suggest that all administratorshave solid masteryof at least one subject (and the learning and teaching of it) and that they develop expertise in other subjects by "postholing,"that is, conductingin-depthexplorationsof an importantbut boundedslice of the subject, how it is learned, and how it is taught. We conclude with an explorationof how content knowledgeand leadershipknowledgemight be intertwinedand suggestionsfor further research.

instructional matter knowledge Keywords: leadership, leadership, subject

a decadeago,Lee Shulman OVER (1986) drewour attention to the importance of subject matter knowledgein teaching.Althoughthepublicholds the common-senseidea thatteachers'knowledge of the subjectsthey teachis important, little effort in the fieldof research on teaching-at leastto that point-had been devoted to exploring the level and kind of subjectmatterknowledgethatteachers should possess. So neglected was teachers' subjectmatterknowledge that Shulmancalled it the "missingparadigm" in researchon teaching.

led to a remarkable s pronouncement Shulman' run of researchon teachersubjectmatterknowledge and the creationof a new construct:pedagogical contentknowledge.Teachers,he argued, need a differentkindof subjectmatterknowledge thanthatpossessedby mathematicians, scientists, or linguists.Ratherthanneedingmore (andmore advanced)knowledge of subjects,teachersneed a qualitativelydifferentkind of knowledge-one that would enable them to help othersto learnit. So, for example,elementaryteachersdo not need

Researchand This articlewas prepared Communities underthe sponsorship of the HighPerformance Projectatthe Learning Learning Researchand #RC-96-137002with the Officeof Educational underresearchcontract DevelopmentCenter,Universityof Pittsburgh, Improvementat the U.S. Departmentof Educationand undergrantsto the Centerfor the Development of Teaching at the Education Development Center from the Spencer Foundation and the National Science Foundation.Any opinions expressed are or the NationalScience Foundathose of the authorsand do not necessarilyrepresent the view of OERI,the SpencerFoundation, who parandthe principals tion. The authors wouldlike to thankDistrict#2 principals, teachers,staffdevelopers,andadministrators, to observeanddiscusstheirwork. Ideasto Practice" researchprojectat EDC, for giving us the opportunity ticipatedin the "Linking

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Stein and Nelson

knowledge of advancedcalculus or linear algehow to make place bra;they need to understand value understandable to childrenwho are learnwith regrouping. The constructof ing subtraction pedagogicalcontentknowledgewas thus created to call attention to the fact thatsubjectknowledge must be transformed for the purposeof teaching. In this article,we contendthatthe studyof administrators' of subjectmatterand understanding how it must be transformed for the purposes of leadership,has been similarlyneglected in research on educationaladministration. Although the need for educational administrators to become instructional leaders has gained considerable currency (Rowan, 1995; Spillane & Halverson, 1998), most of the research in educational administration continuesto focus on whateffective leaders "do,"not on how they think about what they do. Recently, a handfulof researchershave begun to explore the cognitive underpinnings of effective leadership(Hallinger,Leithwood,& Murphy, 1993). Drawing upon early cognitive scienceresearch on problemsolvinganddecisionmaking, most of this work focuses on how school leaders identify and frame problems in their schools. To our knowledge, such research has not examined the subject-matter-knowledge of effective instructional requirements leadership. We argue here that administratorswho profess to be instructional leaders-superintendents; deputy, assistant, or area superintendents;and principals,l--must have some degree of understandingof the various subjectareasundertheir purview. Surely, principals and district leaders cannotknow subjectmatterin the same way as do mathematiciansor historians-nor even to the level thatthey expect theirteachersto understand them.Nevertheless,as demandsincreasefor them to improveteachingandlearningin theirschools, administrators must be able to know strong instructionwhen they see it, to encourageit when theydon't,andto set the conditionsfor continuous academiclearningamongtheirprofessional staffs. The kind of knowledge thatwill equip administrators to be stronginstructional leaderswe will call leadership content knowledge. Standing at the intersectionof subjectmatterknowledge and the practicesthat define leadership,this form of knowledgewould be the specialprovinceof prinand other administrators cipals, superintendents, charged with the improvementof teaching and As we will see laterin thisarticle,knowllearning. 424

edge about subject mattercontent is related in complex ways to knowledge about how to lead. In some cases, subjectmatterknowledge appears to be transformed for the purposesof providing reform.In othercases, leadershipforinstructional administrators' knowledge of how to lead-how how to to buildthe cultureof a schoolcommunity, andother use professional development programs seresourceswell, how to conduct a curriculum lectionprocessso thatit is perceivedas legitimate andpoliticallyviable,how to planfor the systemic thatwill be neededin order arrayof interventions to successfully reforma system's academicprogram, and so on-appears to be transformedby newly learnedsubjectmatter.And, in still other cases, the two appearto be so tightly fused that they need to be actively disentangled. Leadershipcontent knowledge is a new construct.As such, the field of educationaladministrationoffers few, if any, images of whatit might look like or the advantages it might confer to those who possess it. The purposeof this article is to begin the process of fleshing out the concontentknowledge,providing structof leadership an initial foray into how and why subjectmatter First in educational leadership. knowledgematters we lay out the ideas aboutleadershipandlearning this article.We then analyzethree thatundergird cases of instructional leadership-an elementary an associdoingclassroomobservations, principal selection ate superintendent chairinga curriculum team committee, and a central office designing district-wide mathematics education reformand examine each for evidence of leadership content knowledge in use. Throughthe succession of cases we buildup a complex view of what leadership content knowledge is and how it is used. Finally,we do a cross-caseanalysis,pulling out those general characteristicsof leadership content knowledge that appearin the cases and raising questionsfor futureresearch. The cases we examinein this articlecome from The firsttwo come research two different projects. second author,in the from a study directed by who had takena which a groupof administrators course in mathematicseducation (Grant,et. al, 2003 a, b, c) was studiedas they exploredhow the ideas in thatcourseconnectedto theirongoingadwere inwork.2 These administrators ministrative tervieweda numberof times duringthe course of the research, and were observed as they went abouttheirworkat school.

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Leadership ContentKnowledge

The thirdcase comes from a studyof Community School District#2 in New YorkCity directed by the first author.In its early phases, the study focused on how districtleaders and school principals thoughtaboutandled district-widereform in elementary literacy.As the districtaddedmathematicsto its agenda,the studyshiftedto include interviewsand observationswith principals,district leaders, and teachers surroundingways in which they saw the mathematicswork as both similarand differentfrom the literacywork. Examining Leadership and Learning Therearea varietyof ways to thinkaboutwhere leadership resides in educational organizations vs. positionaltheories3) andhow (e.g., distributed leaders might go about encouraging and shepherding the instructionalimprovementprocess vs. learningmodels4).In this (e.g., accountability article, we primarilydeal with leaders in positional authority;we do, however, describe ways in which positional administrators interfacewith to subject-matter specialists supportteacherimand sketch out how administrators provement can build on the knowledge of othersin theirorganizations.In doing so, we point to some of the limitations of models of educationalleadership thatinvest all leadershipfunctionsin individuals with line authorityand begin to identify ways in which expertise and authority are distributed throughoutan organization. The view of leadership for instructional improvement that underlies this article includes elements from both learning and accountability views of leadership.One of the greateststrengths of positional administratorsacting as instructional leaders is the accountabilitythey bring to the reformprocess by virtueof theirpositions as evaluators.Professionaldevelopmentfor teachers is not sufficientto change instructional practice, especially acrossan entiresystem. Teachers must believe that serious engagement in their own learningis partand parcel of what it means to be a professional and they must expect to be held accountablefor continuouslyimprovinginstructionalpractice. Similarly, principals must not only be capableof providingprofessionaldevelopment for their teachers, but also have the knowledge, skills, and strength of characterto hold teachers accountable for integratingwhat they have learned in professional development into their ongoing practice. District leaders, in

turn,must be able to supportprincipals'learning and be knowledgeableenough to be able to hold principalsaccountablein a fair way. Given their roles as both supporters and evaluators,administratorsconstitute a critical leverage point in the systemic improvementof instruction. The diagramshownin Figure 15depictsthe relationshipsbetween educatorsat differentlevels of the educationalsystem andprovides a framework for identifying and analyzing the knowledge they use in doing theirwork. In this diagram,the personnelin the left-hand box at each level perform both leadership and teachingfunctionsfor the personnelin the righthandbox at the same level. At the heartof the diagram is the subject matterof instruction-the smallest oval. One layer out, in the second oval, we find the actorsrelatedto subjectmatterin the classroom-teachers and students. These two inner-mostovals formthe "technicalcore"of education (Meyer & Rowan, 1977), teaching and learning in the classroom. In the next layer we findprincipalsandteachers.In this layer, administratorsare viewed as teachers (and leaders) of teachers,andteachersareviewed as the learners. The fourthlayerout shows districtleaders(superintendents and their deputies or assistant suas the teachers (and leaders) and perintendents) other adult professionals (principals, teachers, othercentraloffice staff) as the learners.

DISTRICT LEADERS

ADULT PROFESSIONALS

PRINCIPALS

TEACHERS

TEACHERS

STUDENTS

SUBJECT MATTER

FIGURE 1. Nestedlearning communities. 425

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Knowledgeof the Substance: Whatthe Workis About Referringto Figure 1, the substanceof what is taught,learned,andmanagedconsists of all content and practices "beneath" the "teachers"and "learners" at each level. In the classroom,teachers interact with learners about subject matter. The teachers'taskis to socialize studentsinto the world of literateknowerswithin each of the subject matter discourse communities. To do this, however,teachersneedto knowmorethansubject matter. They also must know something about how studentslearna subjectmatter(typicalchallenges and stumblingblocks, ways of connecting new ideas to previousideas, and so on) as well as informationaboutthe best ways of teachingthat that subjectmatter(e.g., particular representations are recognizedas powerfulfor fractions,ways of students'conceptionsof pullingtogetherdisparate This is the knowledge that etc.). proportionality, has been referredto by Shulmanas pedagogical contentknowledge. The substance of workin the thirdlayeris more task for principalsis to complex. If an important assistteachersto improvetheirperformance in the classroom, the substanceof their work together will include everything in the inner two ovals: subject matter, what is known about how to teach the subjectmatter,and how studentslearn the subject matter. The knowledge requiredto do this, however, involves more than knowing the contents of these two inner ovals. It also includes knowing something about teachersas-learnersand abouteffective ways of teaching teachers. Inthe fourth issues arebeing layer,district-wide dealt with and the "learners"may be a variety of adultsin the school districtdependingon the task-principals, teachers,subjectmatterspecialists, etc. If the learnersin this outeroval areprincipals,the substanceof the workexpands,as does the knowledgeneededto carryit out. Administratorswho trainprincipals mustknow everythingin the innerthreeovals plus whatprincipalsneed to know. Such knowledge goes above and beyond what professional developers need to know and includes issues such as how to lead an organization in which whole groups of teachers improve.Districtleadersmustalso have knowledge of how principals learn (i.e., characteristicsof principals as learners-what pre-conceptions do principals often bring to the learning enter426

prise? How can those be overcome? How much do principals typically know about facilitating teacher learning?) Knowledgeof How to Facilitate the Learning: TheHow of the Work Not so obvious in the diagramthat appearsin areengaged Figure1 is thatat eachlevel educators in communitiesin workingandlearning together workwithgroupsof teachersas well i.e. principals as individuals and district administratorswork andothers,as well as inwithgroupsof principals constructake a We dividuals. sociallyinteractive, and toward orientation tivist teaching learningat all levels of the system. Constructivistviews assume thatlearninginvolves active creationon the partof the learner;new ideas and competenbecome but rather cies arenot passively absorbed active useable and only by integration meaningful with pre-existingknowledgeandunderstandings. We also believe that the learningof complex knowledge and skills is supportedby interaction between individualsin settingsin which individuals work toward the accomplishmentof common goals and in which varyinglevels of expertise exist (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998; Wertsch, 1985; Rogoff, 1994; Vygotsky, 1978). In our view, learningis spurredby asymmetries in expertise,thatis, in situationsin which one individualknows more or differentthings thanthe other.Althoughwho is most expertcan shift depending on the task at hand, the "teacher's"or s"job is to have a graspon where exper"leader' tise resides in relation to particulartasks and to then arrangeenvironmentsthatmake interactive learningpossible. Hence, the role of administrators-as-teachers (like the role of teachersin the classroom) is not one of transmitting knowledge, but of assuming the learning for responsibility (a) understanding the interactive needs of individuals;(b) arranging thatembodythe rightmix of social environments tasks to spurlearning; expertise and appropriate (c) puttingthe right mix of incentives and sanctions into the environmentto motivate individuals to learn; and (d) ensuringthat there are adequateresourcesavailableto supportthe learning. We view knowledge of how to createthese kinds of environments for learning as an important competency specifically related to how to lead the improvementof teaching and learningin an organization.

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The Cases All of our cases explore the knowledge that acneed to effectively orchestrate administrators tivities that facilitate improvement in teaching and learningin the classroomOne of the cases is situatedin the third,or school-level, oval of Figure 1; the othertwo are situatedin the fourth,or district-level,oval. The first two cases look at two administrators in one who workedto improvetheirunderstanding particularsubject area-mathematics-and then to theirleadership appliedthatnew understanding practice.In the firstcase, we observe a principal of mathematconductingclassroomobservations ics instructionand the associated pre- and postobservation conferenceswith teachers. Using Figure 1 as ourguide,we identifywhatknowledgeof she used (the innermost oval), what mathematics of-mathematics of knowledge students-as-learners andteachers-as-teachers-of-mathematics she used second what (the oval) and, finally, knowledge of teachers-as-learners she used (the thirdoval). In the second case, we observe the process by which an associate superintendent led teachers and parents in the district-level selection of an mathematics curriculum. elementary Again using what we 1, identify Figure knowledge of mathematics he used (first oval), what knowledge of students-as-learners-of-mathematics andteachershe used (secondoval), as-teachers-of-mathematics he used what knowledge of teachers-as-learners (thirdoval), and the knowledge of other adultsas-learners(school committeemembers,parents on the selectioncommittee,etc.) he used. In both cases, we identifythe specifickindsof knowledge thattheadministrators usedin performing theiradministrative duties.We also examinetheirknowledge of how to guide the learning of groups of teachersandothersin the school anddistrictcommunity. Looking across the cases, we can begin knowlto discernhow thesekindsof administrator edge influencedthe enactmentof two traditional administrative functions. Not only do leaders undertaketheir work informedby new knowledge of mathematics,as in Cases 1 and 2, but also informed by their preexisting knowledge and commitments in other subject areas. Our third case illuminates this dynamic as we examine how centraloffice eduin a mid-sized urbandiscationaladministrators trict (approximately43,000 students)undertook reformon the heels of system-wide mathematics

a successful district-wideliteracy reform. After presentingthe accountof New YorkCity's Community School District #2's transition from a reformto a broaderreformstrat"literacy-only" egy that also includedmathematics,we examine how leaders' content knowledge in literacy inof how to organize formed their understandings in instructionalimprovement mathematics. By analyzingsimilaritiesand differencesin the content knowledge associated with reform in these two contentareas,we gain new leverageon what kind of contentknowledgemattersfor leadership. to Figure1, the thirdcase takesup isReferring sues that lie in the fourth oval, that is, how the influencestheir knowledge of top administrators and as learners the entiredisworkwithprincipals trict as a learningcommunity.Using Figure 1 as our guide, we identify the knowledge of mathematics that they used (the inner most oval), the and teachersknowledge of students-as-learners second as-teachersthat they used (the oval), the that knowledge of teachers-as-learners they used (thethirdoval),and,finally,theknowledgeof printhatthey used (the fourthoval). cipals-as-learners Case #1: Claudia West6: Using Classroom Observation and Teacher Supervision to Identify Professional Development Needs A ubiquitousfunction of the principalshipis classroom observationand teacher supervision. observations traditionally Unfortunately, principal occur infrequentlyand mostly to fulfill adminisfor tenure. trativeneeds suchas recommendations Teachers often perceive these observations as less-than-helpful,claiming that principalsfocus aspectsof theirpractice solely on non-substantive such as the neatnessof bulletinboards,classroom managementroutines, and the extent to which students are well behaved. Without substantive focus and/orcontinuityover time, teacherobservationand supervisionoften becomes a symbolic routineratherthan a meaningfulintervention.In the case of ClaudiaWest, we observehow an adandhow s knowledgeof mathematics ministrator' children learn it influenced her observational routines such that they became something very differentfrom this. of a K-5 school in ClaudiaWest is the principal the small city of Hillsville in centralMassachusetts. While she has been an elementary school principalfor 14 years, the year we observed her was Mrs. West's first year as principal at this 427

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Stein and Nelson

school andin this district.Mrs.West chose to use her work with us as an opportunity to explorethe theirmathematdegreeto which teachersadapted ics instruction to meet the needs of all childrenin theirclasses-those who were performing below, at, and above gradelevel.7However, shortlyinto the project, her work with teachers took an unturn:the exploration of how the teachanticipated ers in the Clinton School understoodthe nature of mathematics learning and teaching, itself. This took the form of an extended inquiry on Mrs. West's partof how they understoodthe nature androle of mathematicalexplorationin the process of mathematicslearning. Mrs. West's observationpracticeincludedthe distribution of a questionnaire to each teacherbeforethepre-observation thepurpose of conference, which was to signal to teachers the areas she wantedthem to be thinkingabout.After observing the firstlesson in the series, Mrs. West commented that she felt that the lesson had been too intellectually controlled-the intellectual structure of the work had been prescribed by the teacherandtherewere no intellectualchoices for the childrento make.8She thenrealizedthatthere was no questionon her questionnaire addressing the issue of mathematical exploration,indicating to teachersthatshe thoughtit importantand that they shouldreflect aboutit. She said, I want a question that totheexploratory talks ... Howwerethechildren Somehow, empowered? it wasn't justthattheycouldgettheirownslate andgo to theirown spot.But how werethey intellectually empowered? Mrs.West decidedto addthe following question: Whatopportunities for mathexploration will youprovide during thislesson? She used this question in the next two observations, but was dissatisfied when she discovered that the teachers didn't seem to understandthe question, so she modified it for the final observation in the series. The final form of the question read: What areprovided forstudents to opportunities explore ("play with," "mess aroundwith") mathematical during thinking/ideas/concepts thislesson? This modification was an attemptto communicate to the teachers what she meant by "mathematical exploration." 428

Mrs. West's struggleswith this questiontook place over severalmonths.They revealbothwhat she was discoveringaboutthe teachers'thoughts andwhatshe heraboutmathematical exploration self meantby the term. When she firstaskedthe questionaboutmatheone teacher'sanswer,"Chilmaticalexploration, will be dren working with manipulatives.They will be working in pairs," suggested that the teacher interpretedthe term "mathexploration" When Mrs.West to mean "usingmanipulatives." the teacher what the chilpressedfurther,asking dren would actuallybe doing and, in successive questions, searchedfor the places in the lesson where the childrenwould have latitudeand flexibility, she discovered that in a lesson about the relationshipbetween ones and tens, the children would have flexibility in the way they recorded the numberson their worksheet.When asked if the children "had actually explored the mathematical idea [of the relationship between ones and tens] with the ... little tiles" in previous lessons, the teachercould not rememberandsaid she "didn'thave an answerfor that."Mrs. West later concluded that this teacherhad not understood what she meantby the term"mathematical exploration." It didn'tsoundlike [theteacher] reallyundermatheof thatquestion stoodthe depth [about maticalexploration]. [It] was morelike [she thought] you're moving things aroundso Butwhatis themathematical you'reexploring. whatit is thatyou're that thinking goesbehind doing?Thatwas the next layerthatI wasn't suresheunderstood. Mrs. West, herself, was clearthattherewas a relationshipbetween a manipulativeandthe idea it represented: bothwith the manipulatives Messingaround, notthe andwiththeideas,go together. They're related. There'sa partsamething,butthey're there. nership She saw the "messing around"with manipulatives as a context for children to test their hyideas. She describes pothesesaboutmathematical thatone of this while talkingabouta manipulative therelationship the teachershadmadeto illustrate between certainequivalentfractions-a manipulative that the teachercalled a "fractionfringe." A fraction fringe was constructedof a stack of overlappingrectangularpieces of paper stapled

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Leadership ContentKnowledge

together at one end. Each piece of paper was partially split so that, at the bottom level there was one piece of paper, at the next level a piece of paper split into two halves, at the next level a piece of paper split into four quarters,and at the top level a piece of paper split into eight eighths. Students could use this to see, for example, how many fourths would be equivalent to one (the whole). Mrs. West used the example of the fraction fringe to describe how she saw the relationshipbetween "messingaround" with the manipulativesand the ideas simultaneously. She said, Let's take the case of the FractionFringe. Let's say [thestudents wantedto compare] a halfand... twoquarters. Theycouldputthem nextto eachother. Theycouldlaythemon top of each other,. .. [The children]are testing whattheirhypothesis is. Half is the sameas two quarters.... They can test it. They can takethetwoquarters andtheycanputthemon topof... [thehalf]andtheyproveit to themselves.It's like theytestthehypothesis. For Mrs. West, mathematical explorationwas the process of "messingaround" with a manipulative, in orderto test a hypothesisabouta mathematical idea. She wanted mathematics classrooms at the Clinton School to provide students with sufficientintellectualflexibilityandlatitude for such explorations.In fact, mathematicalexplorationwas quite centralto Mrs. West's view of mathematicsteachingandlearning.For her, it was the process by which childrenindividually built meaningfor mathematical ideas. In our initial interview with Mrs. West, she had explainedhow she viewed children's learning as the individualprocess of filling in gaps in anever-evolvinglattice-a processthrough which personalmeaning was built. She said: I usedto think... thatyou started withcertain bits of information and,like layerson a layer new layers. And cake,youjustkepton adding thatif you mastered layer one and then you addedlayertwo.... Along the way ... this huge cube would emergethat was [the perAnd it seemedthat[with] son's] knowledge. some peopleyou couldbuildthe cake faster thanothersbecausethey were acquiring the at a morerapid knowledge pace. ButnowI think it is morelikea lattice-work witha wholebunchof gaps.Andpeopleconbasedon a lot of things.Not knowledge struct tell themor whatthe just whattheirparents

teacher tells them,buttheirexperiences in the world. Andso they're a framework all building thetime.Trying connections. ... ButI to make think thatchildren whentheylearn, they're just sortof... fillingin the spaces[in the lattice] withinformation.... adding to whatit is that makes for [them]. meaning This is quite a striking and sophisticated image-that childrenstructuretheir knowledge and that such knowledge structuresare not hierarchical but network-like. It's not that learning one piece of informationdependson prerequisite pieces of informationbeing in place, but rather that pieces of informationare connected to each other in many differentways. Childrenare continually building their own knowledge from a wide rangeof personalexperiences-connecting pieces of knowledge to one anotherandfilling in gaps. For Mrs. West, learninginvolves moments of insight,which she refersto as "ah-ha' s,"which when in the lattice filled andone get gaps happen idea becomesconnectedto others.She tookmathematical explorationto be the process by which children tacitly test an hypothesis about how a mathematicalidea fits into their own, personal, lattice or knowledge structure.By the time of the final observation in the series we observed, Mrs. West was quite concernedby her discovery that many teachersin the Clinton School apparently did not understandthe concept of matheas involvingtheexploration of maticalexploration ideas (thoughsome did). She went mathematical on to talk abouthow she plannedto talk with the school's curriculum specialistto see if she could do some informalwork with the teacherson the natureof mathematical explorationandits role in children's learning. In her view, the teachers would need to experience learningmathematics in a new way, includingthe explorationof mathematical ideas, in orderto understand.She had been to a teacherworkshopseveral years before that was the kind of professional development she wantedfor the teachersat the ClintonSchool. At thatworkshop,teacherswere treatedas learners of the mathematics of the elementary curriculum.Mrs. West describedone session: I wasin, there weretwo In theparticular group that everybodyhad ... standard algorithms learned.... buttherewerereallytwo different We ways.... andtherewereso manyah-ha's. it out wereforcedto do it another way.Figure so much another way.Andpeoplewerehaving else's idea.It fun,... whentheysaw someone 429

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SteinandNelson was like, 'Wow,I neverwouldhave thought of that.'Therewerejust so manyah-ha'sand and to me that's how sparksof enthusiasm canchange, is that whentheyexteachers really attheir it, something level,butthrough perience the eyes of the learner insteadof through the eyes of theteacher. Mrs.West hadhold of a very important idea-thatteachersmay never have had the experience of exploring mathematicalideas and needed to experienceit for themselves, as learners,in order to understand how it could function in their students' learning. Analysis Mrs. West used the process of classroom observationandsupervision not only to evaluateparticularteachersbut also to diagnosethe adequacy of mathematics instruction, school-wide,and develop a remedy, if needed. She discovered that, thatwas dethoughthey were using a curriculum for studentsto exsignedto provideopportunities ideas,few teacherswere actuploremathematical ally providing such opportunities.Indeed, few even understood whatthe term"mathematical exploration" might mean. Mrs. West identifiedthis need and had a very specific view of the kind of professionaldevelopmentthatwas needed. Whatdid she need to know in orderto do this? Whatwas her leadershipcontentknowledge?As we analyzewhatMrs.West knew,we can see severalof the dimensionsof knowledge-knowledge of mathematics itself, knowledge of how children's mathematics knowledge develops, and knowledge aboutteacherlearning-that are depicted in Figure 1. (While this episode does not allow us to specify all thatMrs.West mighthave known aboutthese, it does provideevidence that these dimensionswere partof the contentknowlleadedge thatshe used in exercisinginstructional in her school.) ership Knowledgeof mathematics(the inner-mostoval) Mrs. West was quite comfortable with the mathematics of the elementary school curriculum. She could look at a lesson, see what mathematicalideas the lesson providedthe opportunity for childrento work with, and assess whetheror not there were missed opportunities for children to explore those ideas. She also could construct modificationsof such lessons, on the spot, when talking afterwardswith the teacher. When ob430 serving mathematicsclasses she frequentlydiscussed with the children the specifics of the mathematicsthey were workingon. Knowledgeof how children learn mathematics and how teachers can assist their learning (the second oval) thatchildrenarecontinuMrs.West understood ally constructingtheir own mathematicsknowledge, buildingindividualand unique knowledge structures,and that they use manipulatives(and to testhypotheotherproblem-solving techniques) ideas and addnew matheses aboutmathematical to theirevolving networkof maticalinformation classes to provide ideas. She wantedmathematics studentswith the maximumpossible opportunity to explore mathematicalideas and add them to their knowledge structures.She was interested in how variousinstructional strategiessupported childrenin doing this and enjoyed talking with had workedin teachersabouthow theirstrategies in was the class she observed.She quiteinterested the ways in whichparticular repremanipulatives sented mathematical ideas, and which manipulathose understand tives werelikely to help students child's on the ideas, depending learningstyle. Knowledgeof how teachers learn to teach mathematicsand how others can assist their learning (the thirdoval) Mrs. West also knew thatteachersarecontinually constructing their own knowledge about mathematics, learning,andteaching,andthatthey in do this partthroughreflection.Her questionideas out for nairewas designedto put important not observe When she did reflect on. to teachers mathematicalexplorationin the first classes she observed,she put a questionaboutit on the questionnaire,with the intentto give teachersthe opportunityto reflect about it. But she discovered thatthe term "mathematical exploration"was so far from the teachers' frame of reference that many couldn't connect with it. In that circumstance, Mrs. West's ideas aboutteacherlearning led herto decidethatsomethingmorethanthe opfor reflectionthatshe could providewas portunity needed.In herview, whattheteachersneededwas to thinkaboutandexploremathethe opportunity matical ideas for themselves--to approachthe ideas of the elementarymathematicscurriculum from the point of view of the learner,ratherthan fromthe pointof view of the teacher,so thatthey

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Leadership ContentKnowledge

could experiencewhatit felt like to suddenlyunderstand how an idea fit into theirown knowledge structures. Knowledgeof how to guide the learning of teachers withina community As we explorethe natureof leadershipcontent knowledge, the case of Mrs. West suggests that suchknowledgehas severaldimensions, including knowledge of mathematics,knowledge of how children'smathematical knowledgedevelops,and knowledge of how teachers learn. It does not, however, provideus with much insight into how she would arrange professionallearningopportunities for herteachersas a group.Herconceptions of what teachersneeded to learn appearedto be primarilyheld at an individualteacherlevel. Our next case, thatof Dr. JamesGarfield,extendsour into this realm. understanding Case #2: James Garfieldg: Reform in Curriculum Selection1o Anotherubiquitous functionof educational administration is curriculum selection.Traditionally, curriculumselection committeeshave met for a relatively short time to look throughthe newest editionsof familiarcurricula. Duringthe curriculum selectionprocessattention has often been focused on practicalaspectsof the curriculum's usability,such as ease of navigationfor the teacher, appealinggraphics,etc, andpoliticalaspectsof its suchas the degreeto whichit would acceptability, be expensive to implementor be sufficientlydifferentfrom earliercurricula thatparentsand perit or approve haps teacherswould not understand of it (Goldsmith, Mark & Kantrov, 1998). In the case of James Garfield, we observe how an administrator'sknowledge of mathematicsand mathematics in learninginfluencedhis leadership this areasuch thatthe processbecame something very differentfromthis. Dr. Garfieldhadbeen associatesuperintendent of schools in Avon, a small school district, for eight years when he participatedin our mathematics seminarsfor administrators. Shortlyafter Dr. Garfieldcompleted the seminarit was time for his districtto select a new curriculumin elementarymathematics.Based on his experience in the mathematicssermnar, Dr. Garfield rejected as no longer appropriate his district's standard procedurefor curriculumselection, which consisted of evaluatingcandidatecurriculaagainsta

check-list of criteriasuch as coverage of a list of mathematicaltopics or ease of use; rating each curriculumagainst each criterion on a scale of 1 to 5; and calculating the numericalresult. He was willing to sacrificethe efficiency and apparent objectivity of such a procedurein exchange for a process thatwould assess candidatecurricula on the dimensions that matteredfor learning and teaching,as he now saw them.The issue now was how a candidatecurriculumsupportedstuideas dents in theirefforts to build mathematical in theirminds. As he put it, I thinkthe shorthandof it wouldbe to move the schoolsystemin a wayin whichwe would be knownas a schoolsystemwhosechildren thinkersas opposed to were mathematical or something of that arithmetic practitioners, sort . . . And the vision was really teachers with [students] about mathematics. thinking The practicalchallenges of curriculumselection were still salientfor Dr. Garfield.But in the curriculumselection process this time, Dr. Garfield wantedto strikea differentbalancebetweenconof siderationof practicalissues andconsideration educationalones. He wantedto reinventhis district's curriculum selection process, using the process of curriculumselection as an opportunity to create a community of teachers and parents who examined the ideas about mathematics, teaching, and learning that were embedded in the several Standardsand Frameworksdocuments by debatingaboutwhat it meantfor a student to be a mathematicalthinker and the way in which the curriculaunder examination supported that goal. As one of the first tasks in this project, Dr. Garfieldworked with EDC staff to design a selectionprocess curriculum several-months-long that began with an opportunityfor all members of the selection committee (elementary,middle, to get andhigh school teachers,andsome parents) orientedtowardthe philosophybehindstandardsbased mathematics education and to establish some shared understandingof the meaning of mathetermscommonlyused in standards-based matics instruction (e.g., hands-onlearning,mathematical inquiry).He understoodthat people on the committeemightuse the samewordsbutmean thingsby them,andhe wantedcomverydifferent to be exmittee membersto have the opportunity plicit about the kind of mathematicseducation At its firstmeeting, they were seekingfor students. 431

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Stein and Nelson

the selection committee viewed and discussed a short videotape of a standards-based classroom and discussedexcerptsfrom the NCTM Curriculum andEvaluationStandards andthe Massachusetts Mathematics Framework. Dr. Garfieldthen described the overall process that they would use: examiningone curriculum each week for six weeks and using a set of open-ended questions thatfocused attentionon the mathematics content of the curriculumand the ways in which each curriculum thedevelopment of students' supported mathematical thinking. About this process, he later said,
The exercise of forming those questions ...

theadministrator In January, framedtheprocess for the committee: of yourdiscussion is to sayattheend Theheart of K-6 withthisseries, 'What would a child think to do in probabilmath is, be ready is, geometry As a mathematics exlearning ityandstatistics? do for a what does this child's intellecperience, That's thequestion tualdevelopment?' youneed ... You're notsupposed to talk to be addressing now. ofthematerials about the[physical] quality a child think would I'masking youto say,"What as a result of thisexabout thebasetensystem
perience?" . . . That's the level of discussion

I wantyouto be having.

... in gavemethecourage,... thewillingness eachsessionto sayto theteachers notso much, "What doesthisexercisedo?"Or,"What does thisunitdo?"but"What will kindsof thinkers thiscreate?" the discussionon whatkindof mathCentering ematicalthinkersstudentswould be if they were taughtfrom each candidatecurriculumallowed Dr. Garfieldto stay focused on the centralintellectualissues thatneededto be addressedandnot get deflected by peripheralissues. As he put it, reflectingback on the process: Forme the initialexperience the [of forming in termsof questions]was truly instructive of as the essenceof comingto whatI thought thecore... issueshere.Andletting theresttake careof itself... I never feltthatI gotdistracted by the teachers'interestin the management stuff.I knewat various I pointsthatpolitically hadto worry about that,but... that'snothow
I got channeled ... because I had a stronger,

Old habits of behaviorwere not easy to shake off. In the early meetings Dr. Garfieldtendedto stand in frontof the group,ask a question,listen to a teacher'sanswer,then ask anotherteachera question. The discussion tended to go back and and individual forthbetween administrator/chair teachers.When asked, Dr. Garfieldsaid thatthis was his old style of teaching: Yes. was an old wayof teaching. It definitely it is this:thatthe AndthewayI wouldexplain wasthestudents as totally old wayof teaching individuals unrelated relatingto me. As opto let thestuposedto mybeingtherein order To createa way for dentsrelateto eachother. to eachother. themto relate He went on to explain that he had always wantedhis students(and, in this case, the teachers andparentson the committee)to feel safe and affirmed.He then worked with the EDC staff to create a process and context in which the members of the committeecould talk directlyto each other,andthroughwhich theirideas could be listenedto andbuiltuponby otherswith profoundly affirmingeffects. As he laterdescribedit, of theteachers I hadn't wanting actually thought to to relateto each other... Ortheirwanting is to ideas.Myorientation buildon eachother's reward peoplefor theirideas,to congratulate to As opposed them,andbe warm. them,thank thatsays,it's about the schoolof thought ideas, but andsupportive, andwe canstillbe affirming I wasn't let'sputtheideasonthetable. working on ... on the idealevel at all. I was working
keeping people safe, keeping myself safe ...

morepowerful ideaof mathematics education central to kids' ... 'How would being thinking thechild'smatheducation be different as a result of thisprogram?' That[question] seemed to provokesome prettyinteresting responses from[theselection committee]. Avon's new curriculum selection process took place over an extended period of time and was drivenby the guidingquestions.Each week, from Januaryuntil June, teachers and parents on the curriculumselection committee system thekindof mathematical thinkers aticallyanalyzed that students would be if the district adopted the candidate curriculum.This provided committee members with the opportunity to think about the nature of learning and teaching, as well as selecting a text. 432

feelreally mewasthat What people youshowed andrewarded whentheir andvalidated affirmed ideagoessomeplace... It'sreallya hugesense if your ideahasledtoanother of accomplishment

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Content Knowledge Leadership idea.That as we'renotjustprotecting eachother but we're ... brave people, strongenough, mature enough, enoughto makeideashappen around thetable. Andthat wasa newideaforme in thissortof environment. Yesit was. As the weeks proceeded,the committeesettled into using the guidingquestionsandthe vision of children thinkers as mathematical to structure their Dr. Garfield's assessmentof candidatecurricula. role and behavior shifted--away from advisor, coach, lecturer, and toward a more facilitative stance-and he finished the project in the firm belief that his goal of changing the focus of the selection process had been accomplished.As he put it, Questions... were raisedevery week about kids' learning andthinking andhow the [inwould be different andhow structional] process theschoolsystem wouldbe different... I think [committee members] beganto thinkthatthey weredoingsomething thatwas like rockbotto tinkering. tom,as opposed In the end, the committee chose Investigations in Number,Data, and Space, a much more prothanDr. Garfieldhad earlier gressive curriculum would select-a curriculumthat predictedthey focused on the developmentof children'smathematical thinking as well as the acquisition of mathematical facts and procedures. Dr. Garfield took a deep breath,as he anticipated the political and administrativeprocesses ahead for him in effecting the formal approval of this curriculum.He explained that presentations to the School Committeearequitecarefully crafted. In order to keep the agenda moving smoothlyalong andto maintainthe School Committee's confidence in the professional staff, the work being presentedto the School Committee was typically portrayedas straightforward and unproblematic.In making presentationsbefore the School Committee one wants to use scarce time efficiently, design the presentationso that it anticipates questions that School Committee members might have and, since School Committee meetings are broadcast on the community access channels of local cable television, not embarrassanyone. As Dr. Garfield noted, presentingthe committee's choice of the Investigations curriculumwould be a matterof staying in "thechute;"i.e. staying in a narrowshipping lane. lane Youhaveto sailin a verynarrow shipping andto SchoolCommittee to get ideasthrough get out of it so thatthe nextitemgets off and ... If youdotoo business no unfinished there's thewaythat muchortoo littleyougo aground of kind if did. [But] keepyourfocus, you ship you go [he makesa swooshingsound]right If youdon'tget it's a chute. ... I think through. it beintothechutewiththerightinformation, andthenthe chaircomesa long presentation arelooking manandtheschoolsuperintendent andthepeoplewho arebehind at watches you ... So youhaveto do arefurious. ontheagenda clean,clear. structured, something This presentation, coupledwith the subsequent tasks of providingthe materialsand teacherprofessional development that the implementation wouldrequire,seemedchallengof Investigations ing to him, but he felt he could offer the students in his district no less, even if it would require a great deal of work on his part over the next few years. Analysis Dr. Garfield'sreformof his district's curriculum selection process required two significant changes in his practice.The firstwas to invent a set of questionsaboutstudentlearningthatcould guide the discussions. The second was to shift from a meeting style in which he directed the in the discussion to one in which any turn-taking membercould commenton an idea thathad been put forward. Interestingly, both of these are closely related to what transpiresin reformed mathematics classrooms and their enactment suggests that Dr. Garfield had come to value these aspects of the reform movement and was practiceto bringit in changinghis administrative line with those new values. But just what was it that Dr. Garfieldknew? What was his leadership content knowledge? And how might his knowledgehave been similar or differentfrom Mrs. West's? Knowledgeof mathematics(the inner-mostoval) was about Dr. Garfieldknew thatmathematics and facts ideas as well as about procedures,and entailedthinkingabout thatlearningmathematics ideas. He wantedthe students these mathematical not in his districtto be "mathematical thinkers," and he organizedthe "arithmetic practitioners," selection entire curriculum process around the 433

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SteinandNelson question, "Whatkind of mathematicalthinkers would our students be if we used this curriculum?" We don't have specific data about what Dr. Garfield knew, mathematically. However, his set of guiding questions provides a sense of what he thought it would be importantfor the committee to consider when they thoughtof the district'sstudentsas "mathematical His thinkers." work sheet had majorsections for assessing curriculaon theirtreatment of numbersense,patterns and relationships, geometry and measurement and statistics and probability. The open-ended questions in each of these sections included questions like: how does the programdevelop of the numerationsystem (countunderstanding ing, grouping, regrouping, place value); how does the program model, explain and develop understanding of basic facts and algorithms; how does the program develop understanding of: fractions, mixed numbers, decimals, percents, integers, and rational numbers?That is, his questions not only constituteda list of mathematical topics that should be treated by the curriculum,but emphasized that it was understandingthatwas valued, and implied thatthere might be a numberof ways for studentsto reach that understandingand that how that was done mattered. We have the sense thatDr. Garfield's knowledge of mathematics was less-detailed than Mrs. West's. He had been a literaturemajor in comfortable with college andwas not particularly mathematics. Whenobserving of mathvideotapes ematics classes (hisjob responsibilities no longer includedobservingactualmathematics classes)he was not as able as Mrs. West to think critically about how well mathematicalideas were being represented by the teacher,nor as able to analyze the validityof the children'smathematical thinkhis views of mathematics were more ing. Rather, on the nature of the mathegeneral-focusing matics enterpriseas a whole. Knowledgeof how childrenlearn mathematics and how teachers can assist their learning (the second oval) It was clearat the outsetthatDr. Garfieldknew thatthe kind of mathematicseducationdescribed by the NCTM Standards, the Massachusetts Mathematics andmanyof the newly Framework, availableelementarycurricula, instantiated a dif434 ferentview of the natureof learningand teaching itself-that childrenbuild their own mathematics ideas knowledgeby thinkingaboutmathematical and workingmathematics problems,not only by Thislay factsandpracticing procedures. absorbing selection behindhis insistencethatthecurriculum committee analyze the kind of "mathematical thinkers,"ratherthan "arithmetic practitioners" that studentswould be if a particularcurriculum were adopted. But, once again, Dr. Garfield's knowledge of how childrenconstructtheirmathematicsknowledgewas not as specificor detailed as Mrs. West's. Knowledgeof how teachers learn to teach mathematicsand how others can assist their learning (the thirdoval) datafromthe coursehe took with Ethnographic us suggests that Dr. Garfieldthought teachers' ability to change their instructionto focus more on students'mathematical thinkingdependedon theirdevelopingthebelief thatchildrenbuildtheir own knowledge,andthatteacherswouldbe motivated to change their instructionby seeing that how well theirearlierteachingmethods,no matter were not sufficientto executedor well-motivated, of mathematical supportstudents'understanding Dr. believed Garfield And like Mrs. ideas. West, to mathematneed thatteacherswould experience ics learningas students,if they were to develop a deep understandingof mathematicsinstruction that supportedstudents' mathematicalthinking. As he put it, level on anadult What[this] doesis to replicate areexperiencing attheir whatstudents levels.... I thinkit's a good thing.I thinkthisreallyis students' likewhat and more fresher, experience. Tobe a true AndI think that's a verygoodthing. learner. All of these ideas about teacher learning affected Dr. Garfield's sense of the natureof the professionaldevelopmentthatwould be required district-wide if the Investigations curriculum were to be well implemented-it would have to affect teachers'beliefs aboutthe natureof learning as well as theirteachingtechniquesand give them the opportunity to reconstruct their own mathematics knowledge.However,we do not see in Dr. Garfieldthe level of detailaboutthe nature of teacherlearningthatwe see in Mrs.West.

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Knowledgeof how to guide the learning of other adultprofessionals (thefourth oval) In the case of Dr. Garfieldwe see an administrator looking across teachersandbuildingsas he led the taskof selectingan elementarymathematics curriculum for an entiredistrict.He also consideredhow he would interactwith othersin the system-the district math coordinator,elementary principals, and the School Committee-in selection committee's degetting the curriculum cision implemented. Dr. Garfield to was attending a set of administrativeprocesses with broader reach than was Mrs. West who was concerned with leading instructionalimprovementwithin one building. As such, he felt the need to establish an explicitprocessfor curriculum selectionin orderto be ableto presenta credibleandreasoned to the School Committee,andto recommendation deal with the budgetaryimplicationsof the curriculumselection.He designedthe curriculum selectionprocess so thathe would be in the position to deal with all of these issues once the finaldecision had been made. While Dr. Garfield'sknowledge aboutthe nature of mathematics learning and instruction gave him new goals for the curriculumselection process, he did not initially have techniquesfor achieving these goals. He was not clear initially aboutwhathe shoulddo to transform the committee in the way thathe wanted-what his new behavior should be-and he sought guidancefrom the EDC staff aboutthe design of the initial session, about the general notion of open-ended questions (thoughhe developed all of the actual questionsused himself), and abouthis role in the committee.He was surprised athow lively the discussion process became, once he made space for it to happenin committeemeetings, and how affirmingthe adultsfoundit. Inthiscase,Dr.Garfield's contentknowledge-his knowledge of mathematics,how children's mathematics knowledgedevelops,andhow teachers learn-actually transformedhis ideas about how to lead. His new ideas about the natureof instruction mathematics changedwhathe thought the curriculumselection committee should deliberateabout, and his experience in a class that discussed ideas about mathematicsgave him a model for how the committeecould function. In essence, Dr. Garfieldlearnedthatleading school

reforminvolves organizingand leadingthelearning of others. If the teachers and parentson his committee were to participatein the mannerhe desired,they would need to confrontthe discrepancy between their currentbeliefs and those instantiated in the standards documents. As he said, people have to "step into the Frameworks and ... imagine what our instructionmight be like and imagine what teaching might be like." He knew that membersof the curriculumselection committee would vary in their understanding of and agreementwith the new ideas about mathematicslearningand teaching, and so there needed to be time for their ideas to emerge and be discussed. So we see in the case of Dr. Garfielda dimension of leadership content knowledge that involves the facilitationof learningwithinan organization. This included knowing how to set a thinkers vision aroundthe kind of mathematical to use external how theirstudentsshouldbecome, what he to offset suspected expertise(the video) view of mathwouldbe a consistentwithin-group ematics as the routinemanipulationof symbols, andhow to lead a groupprocessthatsolicited,repointsof view. spected,and challengedindividual found new However, his insights about how reached its intertwined are leading and learning to deal with the how limits when he considered he was not context In that School Committee. their at all aboutorganizing learning,but thinking shoot to ratherhow simply throughthe process, and in "the chute," emerge with the decistaying sion he wanted. Case #3: Leading District-Wide Reform in Mathematics vs. Literacy: What Do District Leaders Need to Know?n1 Ourfinal case examines how leaders' work in one subjectareais informedby theirpre-existing knowledge and commitments in other subject areas. As such, it complicates the construct of leadership content knowledge by reminding us that leaders are responsible for multiple subject areasandthatknowledgein one subjectareamay be more or less useful for leading reformin another content area. It complicates our story in a second way, as well. In this case we analyze the thoughtsand actions of three leaders-an urban superintendent,his deputy, and the director of mathematics-and how they workedtogetherto 435

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Stein and Nelson

lead a large-scale(25 elementary schools)instructionalimprovement effort.This case analyzesthe knowledge that each leader broughtto the table and how theirdistributed expertiseinfluencedthe of systemicreform.As with design andenactment the cases of Mrs. West and Dr. Garfield,we first tell the storyandthenanalyzethe kindsof knowledge that appearedto influence districtleaders' decisions and actions. CommunitySchool District #2 in New York City was one of the firstdistrictsto face the challenge of establishingcapacityandleadingreform in two content areas simultaneously.Having focused on systemic reform in literacy and raised student achievement scores during the initial eight years of his tenure,in 1995 Superintendent Alvaradoand his staff12 expandedtheir attention to includemathematics. At thattime,the entireinfrastructure of the K-8 system was designed to support ongoing improvements in literacy instruction. The BalancedLiteracyProgram guided all district-wideactivitiesrelatedto instructional (Stein& D'Amico, 2002a). This inimprovement cludednot only a commonapproach to literacyin all elementaryclassroomsbut also an impressive arrayof aligned professionaldevelopmentexperiences for both teachers and principals and a well-developedsystem of administrative support and evaluation of instruction. Moreover, individuals who had been selected because of their affinity towardliteracy in general and theirproficiency with the Balanced Literacy programin particular populated the principal and teaching ranks of District #2. Finally, both Superintendent Alvaradoandhis deputywere expertsin the field of literacyandhadreliedon theircontent knowledge in literacy extensively in leading the literacyreforms(see Stein & D'Amico, 2002b). Alvarado hired Carol Young as Director of Mathematicsin 1995 and charged her with designing a plan for district-widereformof mathematics. Young's knowledge of mathematicswas groundedin her extensive trainingwith national leaders in mathematics education and by the many roles that she had played in the New York City schools, including mathematics teacher, curriculum developer, assistant principal, and teachersupervisor. Selection Curriculum The first decision to be made was whetheror not to adopta curriculum to guide the reformef436

fort in mathematics.Because District #2 educaof developing tors had a long andproudtradition theirown instructional programs,this was not an easy decision. The BalancedLiteracyprogramfromtheEarlyLiteracyProjalthoughemanating ect at Ohio State University-was adaptedand shaped by District #2 principalsand teachersto suittheirown ideas aboutbest instructional practices. Moreover, it was not a curriculumin the traditionalsense of the term,but rathera framework for how to organize instructionto assist childrento learnto readincreasinglychallenging texts. Despite the general unease surroundingthe Young broughtan imadoptionof a curriculum, portantinsight to bear on the decision-the unthatmathematicswas differentfrom derstanding ways-ways that literacyin some very important made it more amenable to curricularguidance. First,Young arguedthatthe contentthatstudents needed to learn was more definable and interrelated in mathematicsthan in literacy and hence materi(a) could be bettercapturedin curricular als; and (b) would demandmore cross-gradearticulationin orderto serve studentswell. Second, Young arguedthat a curriculumwas needed to scaffold teachers' learning of mathematics, as well as studentlearning.Unlike literacy,in which principalswere able to providethe extra support teachersneeded, the lack of expertise in mathematics amongprincipalsmeantthatsuch support would be less forthcoming,at least in the initial stages of the mathinitiative. The limited human for supportingteacherlearning,it infrastructure was argued,needed to be augmentedwith a material infrastructure. of curricula Aftercarefulreviewof a number by a group of teachers,as well as discussions with mathematicseducation experts, the district deData and in Number, cidedto adoptInvestigations besimilarities to note the It is useful many Space. tween Investigationsand the Balanced Literacy Program.Both featurecognitively rich tasks that to construct theirown knowledge requirestudents throughhigh-levelthinkingandproblemsolving. bothdependupon Unlikemorescripted programs, andtheirstumatter teachers knowingtheirsubject andcarryout momentdentsin orderto formulate by-moment decisions in the classroom. Young, and the deputy all knew that the superintendent, they would need to plan carefully for the professional development of their teachers so that

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Content Leadership Knowledge they would be able to enact the Investigations curriculum. Professional Development for Teachers Unlike the decision regardingchoice of curriculum where the field of literacy was clearly different from the field of mathematics,district leadershoped to be able to directlytransferwhat had been learnedaboutthe organizationand delivery of system-wideprofessionaldevelopment in literacy to their design of professional development for mathematics.Not surprisingly,one year into the mathematicsinitiative,professional developmentin mathematicsand literacy shared many features.Both aimed to reach all teachers (not a select group)and were focused on providteacherswould need to implement ing the support the initiativeswell. Both were comprehensive and multi-faceted,meaningthatteacherslearnedin a variety of venues, with a variety of individuals, andin a varietyof ways.Forexample,professional development in each subject area occurred in districtandschool-based workwell-coordinated, shops; duringcarefullyplannedinter-visitations to other schools; during dedicated grade-level meetings within schools; and in individualclassrooms through the assistance of school-based professional developers, sometimes referredto as coaches. Unquestionably,the organizationalblueprint for professional development in literacy served District #2 leaders well as they began their design of professionaldevelopmentfor the mathematicsinitiative.However,the above similarities are at the level of forms, (i.e., program structures) not the content of what needed to be covered inside professional development. The fact that Young was designing professional development in mathematics created importantdifferences between professional development in these two areas. District-wide professional development in literacy was organized in terms of the components of the district'sBalancedLiteracyProgram (e.g., GuidedReading, SharedReading,etc.). In district leaders' experience, teachers tended to have differentkinds of struggleswith each component(GuidedReadingbeing the most difficult) hence, it made sense to isolate each and focus on whatis entailedin enactingit well. Whenteachers returnedto their schools, they would receive assistance from their principal and more experihow to integrate the new enced teachersregarding knowledgeseamlesslyinto the overallprogram. In mathematics,the organizationof districtwide professional development aroundcomponents was not a viable option. The mathematics initiative had no componentsthat paralleledthe componentsof GuidingReading,SharedReading and so forth. Rather the salient features of the initiative-in terms of what teachers needed to ideas andconcepts learn-were the mathematical how themselvesalong with knowledgeregarding these could best be taught and learned. Thus, by the second year, the Investigations curriculum itself served as the overarchingframework for district-wide professionaldevelopment.More specifically, professional development sessions were organizedaroundthe units of the InvestigaThe goal of each session was to tions curriculum. provide teachers with guidance regarding the mathematicsin thatunit, how to teach individual lessons within the unit, and the kind of student responses they might expect during particular lessons. These sessions were organizedby grade level and timed to coincide with the month during which most teacherswould be teaching that unit.13 particular distinctionconcerneddeciAnotherimportant stance toward teaching and sions regardingthe modeled. The mathematbe learningthat should sessions that we ics professional development with facilitators often observed asking began teachersto work on a mathematicaltask. Sometimes the task was the same one they would be asking their students to do; sometimes it was a "moreadult"version of the student-leveltask. In either case, it was a complex, multifacetedtask thatdemandedsustainedreasoningandthinking. The reason for doing this was not only to assist teachersin building theirsubstantiveknowledge but also to give them the experiof mathematics, ence of actively making sense of mathematics (insteadof passively receiving it) and of participating in a community of mathematical learners. By sharing their solution methods with the entire group and listening to others' methods, teacherslearnednot only the mathematicsitself, but also the methods by which mathematical knowledge is developed, judged, and verified. Leaders would then ask teachers to reflect on that experience, especially with regard to the implicationsthatit had for teachersas leadersof discourse in their own classrooms. In this way, 437

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Stein and Nelson

teachers could begin to better understandtheir role as facilitatorsof learningand socializers of studentreasoning. In contrast,in literacyworkshopsteachersseldom took the role of learner;rather,most of the time was spent observing models of good pedagogical practice.Teachersskippeddirectlyto the role of the pedagogue-not pausing to consider how to learn the content at hand or how knowledge is constructedand verified in the domain. Given that most teacherswere comfortablewith theircommandof readingandwriting,this would appearto makeconsiderablesense. Nevertheless, comby not experiencinglearningin a particular munityandreflectingon theirmethodsfor developing and verifying knowledge, teachersdid not have the opportunity to encounterthe underlying foundationsof knowledge creationin the various domainsthatundergird literacy.Forexample,we never witnessed a discussionregardinghow various schools of literature resttheirinterpretations of text in differentforms of evidence (i.e., in the text itself, in knowledge aboutthe author,in subjective responsesof the reader). Thus, although the structuresof professional remained district leaders development unchanged, did not importtheirliteracyprofessionaldevelopment system wholesaleinto the design of support for teachersof mathematics. Young's knowledge of mathematicsallowed them to realize early on thatthey would need a differentorganizingframe andthatboththe contentandprocessesof professionaldevelopment in mathematics wouldneedto be differentthanit had been in literacy. Professional Development for Principals Given theirrole as both supporters andevaluaa critical District #2 constituted tors, principals in of the district's leveragepoint theory systemic instructional This approach worked improvement. well for the literacyinitiative.Principals(manyof whom alreadyhad literacyexpertisebased upon priorexperiencesas teachersor staff developers) receivedconsiderable amountsof professional developmentand support.14Indeed,districtleaders believed thatprincipalsdeservedas muchprofessional supportas did teachers.They arguedthat knowinghow to teach oneself--or even knowing how to conduct good professionaldevelopment sessions-was a necessarybutnot sufficientbasis for instructional leadership.Missing was knowledge of how to lead reform,thatis, how to identify 438

andprofessionaldeveland use the instructional opmentexpertisewithinone's buildingto develop capacity across the entire school faculty, how to effectively utilize coaches, how to partnermore and less experiencedteachers,and how to get the most mileage out of events that featureddemonstrationsof desiredpractice(e.g., how to free up teachersto observe demonstration lessons). This knowledgewas layeredon topofa core leadership of knowledgethatprincipalspresumablyalready had:knowledgeof how childrenlearnto readand looks like. As time whatgood literacyinstruction went on, it was difficultto distinguishleadership knowledge from literacy knowledge; they were tightlybundled. forprincipalsto learnhow to The opportunities lead in mathematicswere different. Principals were urged to attend professional development sessions with their teachers so that they would learn some mathematics,but, more importantly, so thatthey wouldknow whatto look for in classconferenceswere devoted rooms.A few principal to mathematics, but began not with the basics of mathematicalknowledge, how studentslearn mathematics, or how teachers learn to teach with the leadershiplayer mathematics,butrather for in classrooms; how to to look (e.g., what organizeprofessionaldevelopment.)Thus,prindifferent opporcipalshad fewerandqualitatively to lead school-wide how for tunities learning instructionalimprovementefforts in mathematics. More specifically,the opportunities provided by the districtskippeddirectlyto the level of leadership knowledge without first laying down an intensive base of knowledge of teaching and learning in the domain of mathematics. Analysis the of Our analysis knowledge used by these of similaritiesanddifuse makes districtleaders ferences between literacy and mathematics in orderto surface the kinds of leadershipcontent knowledge that were needed to lead reform in District#2. oval) ofsubjectmatter(the inner-most Knowledge One aspect of subjectmatterknowledge used in this case relates to the "disciplinarystatus"of literacy and mathematics (Stein & D'Amico, 2000). Comparedto the kind of subject matter knowledge used by Mrs. West and Dr. Garfield, of subject matterused by the the understanding

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LeadershipContentKnowledge

District #2 team entails a broad, but also very deep, appreciationof the disciplinary roots of knowledge, of how knowledge is developed and verified, and of the role of "schools of thought" in definingwhat is worthwhileand acceptable. School mathematics is comprised of a definable of a of structure coninterrelated body knowledge, a and a thatcepts, symbol system, vocabulary althoughnot synonymouswith-is derivedfrom the discipline of mathematics. In recent years, school mathematicshas expandedto include the experience of creating and using mathematics, not simplymemorizing factsandrepeating routine calculations. This aligns with current ways of viewing mathematicsas an inherentlysocial activity in which a communityof trainedpractitioners uses the tools of abstraction,representation, and symbolicmanipulation to engagein the study of patterns,to solve problems,and to createnew understandings(Lakatos, 1976). Viewed in this way, mathematics-both disciplinaryand school mathematics-goes well beyond knowledge of facts, concepts, algorithms,or definitions.What countsas knowinganddoingmathematics also includes using tools in the service of creating,communicating, verifyingandapplyingmathematical and structure (Schoenfeld,1992). concepts Comparedto elementaryschool mathematics, elementaryschool literacyhas a much less delineatedknowledgebase. Althoughthe "content" of has been defined as the literacy variously grammatical and linguistic structureof written and spoken language, children's literature,phonics, and/orthe writingprocess, the sum total of these does not represent"disciplinaryknowledge" in the classic sense of the term. Ratherthe content of school literacy is dispersed among at least three academic disciplines (language, literature, and composition). These multiple and diverse perspectiveson what should be taughtunderthe banner of school literacy suggest the need to conceptualizeits foundationdifferentlyfrom the singular disciplinary underpinningthat can be identifiedfor school mathematics. The activities of learning to be literate and being literatealso have differentroots for school therearesimilaritiesbeliteracy.In mathematics, tween "doingmathematics" in school andthe activity of practicing mathematicians.Lacking a home comparable to thatnoted single disciplinary for mathematics,school literacyhas looked more broadlyformodelsof literatepractice.Ideasabout

what constitutesliteratepracticehave been based as well as upon models of knowing in literature, in of other a methodsof inquiry variety disciplines suchas scienceandhistory.Evenwithinliterature, methodfor however,thereis no one agreed-upon the text. Rather, method readingand interpreting one uses, depends on the academic community with which one identifies.These diverse underas being litpinnings suggest that what "counts" and erate doing literacy-basedpracticeis multidimensional,elusive, andnot easily pinneddown. These understandings formed an important foundation for the curricularand professional development decisions that were made in Disthatmathematics was trict #2. Young's argument that and thus the district's from different literacy shouldbe guided reforminitiativein mathematics the fact thatthe literacy a curriculum (despite by initiative was not) rests upon many of the ideas outlinedabove. The contentof the BalancedLitwas so largethatit defiedattempts eracyprogram it. orplaceboundaries around to outline,structure, school bled into other it often Indeed, subjects such as science, even in the primarygrades.The on the otherhand,does curriculum, Investigations of mathematical the knowledgethat specify body learn. should students Takingits cues elementary from the national standardsfor school mathematics (NCTM, 1989) which, in turn,have been Investishapedby the discipline of mathematics, to be a set of covered, topics gations provides tasks for studentsto do when coveringthose topics, and a general sequence for those topics. We can also see the influence of disciplinary ideas in the District#2 decisions thatwere made about teacher professional development. First, district-based mathematics professional development was to be organizedaroundmathematical topics because the knowledge-to-be-learned is more delineated, organized, and sequenced. Given the large and diffuse knowledgebase that literacy,it is moredifficultto organize undergirds professionaldevelopmentaroundcontenttopics. of mathematics Second,the "insides" professional development sessions were designed to be very differentfrom the "insides"of literacy sessions. ideas reFollowing on the heels of contemporary gardingwhatit meansto know anddo mathematics, mathematics professional development in District #2 stressedlearningnot only the mathematicalconceptsbut also the methodsof reasoning. We have noted thatliteracyprofessionalde439

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SteinandNelson velopmentdidnot includethis aspectof "howone comes to know or justify something."Lacking strongunivocalsignalsfroma singular parentdiscipline, school literacy(forbetteror worse)is less easily definedand/oralignedwith various"ways of knowing." Knowledgeof how children learn mathematics and how teachers can assist their learning (the second oval) Therewere similaritiesin the knowledgeabout studentlearningin mathematicsand literacythat to underlie District#2 leaders'decisions. appeared For example, reforms in both areas privileged the constructivistnatureof studentlearningand viewed classroomdiscourseas an important vehicle for learning. District leaders' decisions reflected anunderstanding thatstudents do not learn by receiving finished records of knowledge but rather mustactivelyconstruct knowlandinterpret about studentlearnedge. These understandings set of ing were accompaniedby a corresponding beliefs regarding pedagogy.Roughlystated,leaders believed thatteachersshouldlectureless, ask fewerfactualquestions,andpushstudent thinking order" through"higher questions--questionsthat requireextended studentreasoningand explanations. Ratherthan having all classroom talk filteredthroughandjudged by the teacher,teachers shouldhelp studentslearnhow to talk to andcritique one another's responses. Superintendent Alvaradoandhis deputiesclearlyunderstood and were capable of building on the power of these similarities. Less clearis the extentto which districtleaders recognized strategicdifferences between teachandliteracy.For ing andlearningin mathematics example, the role and natureof evidence clearly sets apartteachingandlearningactivitiesin these two domains. The justification of moves in a mathematicsdiscussion must always rest upon mathematical evidence. Although evidence is called uponto support one's interpretations of litthenature of acceptable evidenceandhow erature, it is integrated into one's arguments can be andis more variablydefined.In some schools of literais rooted in the text itself. In ture, interpretation others, considerationof the author and his/her andintentionsis necessaryto unlock background the truemeaningof the text. In still otherschools, rests on the subjectiveresponse of interpretation the readerto the text. 440 Knowledgeof ways in which the natureof evidencevariesin mathematics andliteracy didnotappearto be takeninto accountby districtleadersas initiativeon top of they unrolledthe mathematics Forexample,despite an existingliteracyinitiative. teacherprofessionaldevelopmentin mathematics methodsof reasoning,we did not thatemphasized to the varietyof possible observesimilarattention "styles of reasoning"in literaturediscussions."1 between Lackof knowledgeof thisdeepdifference andliteracyshowedup perhapsmost mathematics clearly in the ways in which principalsbegan to evaluatemathematics lessons;judgingmathematof ics discussionssolely by the linguisticstructure the discussion16 or by ratesanddiversityof student to the mathematiwith less attention participation in play at the time. cal ideasor reasoning strategies Knowledgeof how teachers learn to teach and how others can assist their learning (the thirdoval) What was the nature of knowledge about teacher learning that under girded the district's responsesto the challenges in this case? As with studentlearning,some of this knowledge was the same in both mathematicsand literacy. For example, districtleaders understoodthat teachers' to learnhad to be directlyrelatedto opportunities the school subjectsand curricular programsthat comprised the improvement effort. In other words,if improvementsin mathematicsteaching and learning are needed, professional development on generic instructionalstrategieslike cooperativelearningwill not help. However, in other instances district leaders thoughtaboutprofessionaldevelopmentin literacy differently than in mathematics.For example, in mathematics,districtleadersfelt the need to place teachers in the positions of learnersof mathematics,whereas they did not view this as an important aspectof professionaldevelopment for teaching literacy,presumablybecause teachers were expected to alreadybe competentreaders and writers and may have been offended if askedto tacklea readingor writingtask.Moreimportant,however, in mathematics,teacherswere also seen to benefit from group discussions of mathematics. By discussingsolutionmethodsand their justifications, mathematics teachers were able to learn not only "how to do mathematics right"but also "howto thinkandreasonin mathematicallyjustifiableways." Thus, the reasoning

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Content Knowledge Leadership went, they would be in a betterpositionto understandtheirrole as facilitators of such discoursein theirown classrooms.In literacy,teachersdid not participatein a communityof learnersthat embodied particular normsof discourse.Therefore, the underlying foundations they did not encounter of knowledgecreationin the variousdomainsthat undergirdliteracy.Nor werethesefoundations directlytaughtto them. Knowledgeof how principals learn to lead subject-matter reformand how to assist their learning (thefourth oval).17 Whatwas the natureof knowledge aboutprincipal learningthatundergirdedthe district's reforms in mathematicsand literacy?In literacyin District #2, it appearsas though principalswere expected to know everything that teachers and professionaldevelopersknew coupledwith leadershipknowledge thatconsists primarilyof how to build the capacityof groups of teachersto improve. So what do districtleaders need to know in orderto assist principalsto learnthese things? The answer appearsto be that the districtleader needs to know everything the principal knows plus have an understandingof the challenges principals will face as they are learning these skills (most likely on thejob), the developmental trajectoriesthat principalsgo through,and how to scaffold principallearningat variousstages of thatdevelopmentaltrajectory. The question for mathematics,then, is, "Do districtleaderswho areresponsiblefor the learning of principalshave to travel back down into the depths of what teachersand staff developers andprincipalsmustknow thatis specificto mathematics and then layer on top of thatknowledge regardinghow principalslearnto lead in mathematics?"Or is there some otherway for them to configure their knowledge-a way that takes advantage of other resources in the environment and the sensibilities that they've developed from leading reform in one content area? We address these and other issues in the last section of this article. Knowledgeof how to guide the learning of teachers and principals within a community District#2's leaders'knowledgeof how to provide supportto a communityof literacyteachers was more robust and well-groundedthan their teachknowledgeof how to do so formathematics ers. For example, in the literacyreform,we witnessed leader knowledge that included not only how to help teachersto learnone-by-one,but also how to build the capacities of entire teaching staffs. This involved knowing how to arrange occasions in which one teachercould learnfrom another,to whom to assign coaches, and how to use both supportandevaluationto move teachers This knowledgewas often very nuanced forward. (Stein & D'Amico, 2002b). For example, when arrangingfor one teacher to visit and observe another, many dimensions of teacher learning were considered: is on the Youhaveto knowwherethe teacher andwhat's continuum move goingtohelpthem to the next step. It does sometimes help for to see what teachers theendgoalis, so youmay very well send themto a place like (the top school)whereyou havea reallyhighlevel of of teacher teaching... but in the scaffolding to someyou wantto sendtheperson learning one who is closerto wherethey'reat andable to takethemto thenextlevel. District#2 leadAs indicatedin this quotation, ers were using an (implicit)developmental theory of how teacherslearnto teachliteracyalong with a theoryof how to providescaffolded assistance based on where the teacherwas in the developTheirknowledgeof how to promentaltrajectory. vide tailored assistance entailed being able to teacher'sneeds and preciselyidentifya particular modelforherto thenidentifythe most appropriate observe, a model that was selected from their knowledgebase of all of the availablelearningresources (i.e., teachersin various stages of develAlthoughthe opment)in the wider environment. may,at firstglance, pairingof teachers appropriate appearto be a generic skill of leadership,we did not see suchpairingsin mathematics, presumably because,otherthanYoung,the top districtadministratorsdid not possess sufficientunderstanding of mathematicsinstructionalpractices and how teachers learn them to be able to identify such matches. Leadership Content Knowledge We startedour explorationof leadershipcontent knowledge by referringto Shulman's term pedagogical contentknowledge-subject matter for the purknowledgethatbecomes transformed pose of teaching.In the finalsectionof this article 441

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Stein and Nelson

we use the cases we have presentedas contextfor of leadership content discussingthecharacteristics knowledgeat differentlevels of the organization, how it relates to administrators' knowledge of andhow leadership contentknowledge leadership, can become availableto leaders.We also identify a numberof questionsfor further exploration. Characteristicsof Leadership ContentKnowledge In this section, we look across the three cases and attempt to characterizeleadership content knowledge at each level of the organizationat which it is called upon to do work. We begin by the kind of knowledgethatthe adcharacterizing ministrators in our cases had about the teaching and learning of subject matterin the classroom (the two inner-mostovals) andthenmove to their understandingsof how to encourage teaching and learning at the school (third) and district (fourthoval) levels. Knowledgeof teaching and learning of subject matterin the classroom (thefirst two ovals) All of the administrators in our cases used in theirwork some degree of subjectmatterknowledge (of either mathematicsor literacy or both), knowledgeof how childrenlearnthatsubject,and knowledgeof how to teachthesubject.Mrs.West, whose responsibilities as principal of a school included observing in classrooms, supervising teachers, and makingjudgmentsaboutthe quality of mathematicsinstructionin her school, was closest to the classroom, had the narrowestadministrativefunction,andused the most detailed knowledge of mathematicsand how children's mathematicalthinkingdeveloped. She was able to follow the mathematicallogic of the lesson, analyzethe students'mathematical reasoning,and commenton the adequacyof the pedagogy of the lesson. Dr. Garfield,an associate superintendent of a smalldistrict, was further removedfromthe classroom and the breadthof his administration function was wider, since he was responsible for an entiresmall district.The mathematics knowledge thatDr. Garfieldused in chairingthe curriculum selection committeeseems to have been less detailed than Mrs. West's. In order to chair this committee he needed to know what the mathematicsideas andtopics of the elementary curriculum were, and, in general,the kind of instruction 442

to become "mathematthatwouldenablestudents with respectto those ideas, andnot ical thinkers" simply memorizersof the facts and procedures connected to those ideas. He did not need to be able to make fine-grainjudgmentsin classes, as Mrs. West did, nor to intervenewith individual teachers,as she did. In the case of District #2, which was also engaged in a district-wide process, we examined the relationshipfor districtleadersof knowledge of two differentsubjects-literacyandmathematics. Our case suggests that they needed to know fundamentalthings about the way the fields of mathematicsand literacy worked, what the natureof argumentand evidence was in each field, and what the implicationsof this were for what should happenin classrooms and what teachers needed to know and know how to do. (Note that Mrs. West and Dr. Garfield may have needed knowledge aboutboth literacy and mathematics in their work as well, but the comparison between disciplines was not salient for the administrativetasks we examinedhere.) Notice that as we move away from the classroom, knowledge about subject matterdoes not disappear, and what administrators need to know does not become moregeneric.The needed knowledge remains anchored in knowledge of the subjectand how studentslearn it. Indeed, in ourjudgment,thekindof knowledgeexhibitedby the leadersin District#2 is becomingincreasingly importantin the currentclimate in which classrooms are challenged to become communities of practicegovernedroughlyby the same norms of argumentand evidence as govern discoursein the disciplines. Like never before, teachers are chargedwith socializing studentsinto particular ways of thinking,into specific methods of interactingwith othersaboutideas, and into modes of judge, crireasoningthat allow them to interpret, that will be create new and even knowledge tique, and the their and peers accepted by recognized are the kinds of These understandings discipline. typicallydevelopedin courseson epistemologyor thephilosophyof knowledge.We argue,however, thattheseideashaverelevancefor decisionsmade in guiding district-widereforms that are deeply entwinedwith the contentareas. These reflectionson administrator knowledge of subject matterand how it is learned suggest that characterizationsof content knowledge for leadershipmay differ by function. We observed

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LeadershipContentKnowledge

Mrs. West as she was supervisingand evaluating teachers,Dr. Garfieldas he was leadinga curriculum selectioncommittee,andthe District#2 leaders as theywereplanninga mathematics reformon the heels of a literacyreform.Each of these functions appearedto requiredifferentgrain sizes of knowledge and different kinds of knowledge. Given that any one administrator may be called to of these functions upon performany duringhis or her career,we are forced to considerhow administrators can gainaccessto theknowledgethey will need-how much administrators(at every level) needto knowaboutall of thesubjectstaught in school. Is it reasonableto expect that elemenwill have knowledgeof every subtaryprincipals in their schools-mathematics, lanject taught and literature,science, social studies, and guage the arts-at the level of grainthatMrs. West exhibited in her knowledge of mathematics?And would this be possible for high school principals where subject matterknowledge is much more differentiated(several foreign languages, many sciences, etc.) and more advanced?And would it be reasonable to expect that associate superintendents would be equally conversant about curriculum,instruction,and professional development in all subjects, at all grades, K-12? This does not seem reasonable,on the face of it. But, as we have seen in our cases, depth of subject matter knowledge and knowledge of how students learn those subjects does seem to give administratorsa significantadvantageas effective instructionalleaders. We believe that there are two kinds of response to this dilemma, which are not mutually exclusive. One focuses on the education of administrators andthe conditionsunderwhich they continue might acquiringsubject matterknowledge throughoutthe course of their careers.The otherfocuses on the distributed natureof leaderand the that ship opportunities provides for administrators to build workinggroupsthatcollectively have the needed knowledge. We discuss each of these brieflybelow. With respectto what individualadministrators should know, we suggest that, at a minimum, school anddistrictadministrators shouldhavereal of and depth knowledge expertise in one school subject.This maybe the subjectthey studiedmost thoroughlyin college, or loved teachingthe most. We would expect that, as graduate students in administrators would take addiadministration,

tionalcoursesin this subjectandhow it is learned and taught.In this "major" subjectwe would exto havebothdepthandbreadth pect administrators of subject matter knowledge and to know in considerable detail how children's knowledge of the subject develops-what ideas are typically difficult andwhy, what good instructionin of curthis subject looks like, the characteristics riculathatsupportstudentthinkingwell, the characteristicsof professionaldevelopmentprograms teacherlearningwell, andso on. That thatsupport we would like to see administratorsat all is, levels-principals, central office staff, associate superintendents,and superintendents--be quite thoroughlygroundedin one subject,the way it is learned,the way it is taught,andways to best supThis will enperspective. portit froma leadership sure that they truly understandwhat it meansto in a subject,what it have depthof understanding means to learnand teach for deep subject-matter understanding, and what it means to provide conditionsthatwill allow effective organizational adultprofessionalsand studentsto learn. However, we do not suggest that administrators' knowledgeof othersubjectsis superficialor thatthey reasonby analogyfromthe subjectthey do know to others. The District #2 case shows to genthat it is not adequatefor administrators eralize from what they know aboutlearningand teachingin one subjectto another.The natureof andhas implications for the subject,itself, matters, in that our and subject.Rather, learning teaching experience in teaching the ideas of elementary administrators to practicing mathematics suggests can develop theirknowledge that administrators in a second, third, and perhapseven fourth subject by "postholing," that is by digging down slice deeply enough in a small but representative of knowledge in the second and thirdsubjectsto of knowledge,learning,and the nature understand in that subject.We suggestthatadministeaching trators need substantial experiencesof some depth in every subject,in which they experiencewhatit is like to be a learnerof thatsubject,in whichthey study what is known about how children learn thatsubjectandbecome familiarwith the best instructionalmethods for that particularsubject. From knowing a single subjectwell, administrators will bring to their explorationof the second and thirdsubjectsthe recognitionthatevery subits own criject has its own domainof exploration, teria for inquiry, its own rules of evidence and 443

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Stein and Nelson

argument.They will bring their knowledge that the primarylearning task is for children to be building knowledge of the central knowledge structuresand modes of inquiryof each subject andthatit canbe predicted thatsome ideas will be moredifficultthanothersfor many students.That is, from theirknowledge of theirfirstsubject,administrators will have a generalorientation toward and,in fairly knowledge,learning,andinstruction focusedexplorations, will be ableto see how such ideasareworkedout specificallyin othersubjects. We are not arguing that administratorsneed equally broadand deep knowledgeof every subject, butthatsuchknowledgein one subjectwould preparethem to conduct highly focused explorationsof othersubjectsin very productiveways. However, there is anothersolution. Administrators do not workalone,butwithincomplexnetworksof colleaguesthatformandre-formaround specific tasks or issues (Elmore,2000; Spillane, Diamond, Sherer,& Coldren,in press). Leadership can be viewed as distributed,or "stretched over"the practiceof multiplepeople-principals and teachers in a school; principals and other principals in a district; teachers, principals and district subject-mattercoordinators-as well as enabledby materialartifactssuch as observation protocols, curricular frameworks and so on (Rogoff, 1990; Spillane,Diamond,& Jita,2003; natureof leadHalverson, 2003). This distributed leads to anotherresolutionof the dilemma ership about how much administrators need to know aboutevery subject.Whereindividualadministrators do not have the requisiteknowledge for the task at handthey can count on the knowledge of others,if teamsor taskgroupsarecomposedwith the recognitionthat such knowledge will be requisite and that someone, or some combination of people and supportivematerials,will need to have it. Fore more informationon the natureof distributed leadership, we refer readers to the works cited above. Knowledgeof teaching and learning at the school level (thirdoval) To go back to our figure, as we move away from the classroom and towardthe school level, not only do we see increasingbreadth of function, but we also addadditional levels of learners.That is, at every organizationallevel administrators also need to know abouthow the other adultsin theirpurviewlearn.Teachersareconcernedabout 444

subjectknowledge and how studentslearn it. In orderto provideinstructional leadershipfor their faculty principals must add to their fine-grain knowledgeof one or more subjectsandhow they arelearned, knowledgeof how teacherslearneach need to know subjectandits pedagogy.Principals the history of pedagogy in the subject (that is, how teachersmight have been traineda number of years ago), the natureof teachers'subjectmatter knowledge, teacher misconceptions about subject matter and the learning of it, and how teachers work between developing new ideas (about the subject and its pedagogy) and developing new instructionalpractices.As suggested in the District #2 case, they also need to know how best to assistteachersin theirlearning,which includesbeing familiarwith typicaldevelopment trajectoriesof teacherlearningand what kind of supportis best for each level of learning. Ourcases also suggestthatadministrators have to know more than how teachers learn one-byone, but also how to arrangeenvironmentsthat will continuously spur the learning of teachersteacherswho workin the samebuildas-a-group, ing or participate in some otherwise defined learningcommunity.Knowinghow to pairteachhow to encourers togetherfor peer observations, of beliefs and set a vision regarding age common studentlearning,how to arrangefor competent substituteson a regularbasis, and how to schedule classes in orderto allow for commonplanning times are only some of the forms of knowledge (knowledge that intersects organizations and bring to learning)that competentadministrators theirwork. Knowledgeof teaching and learning at the district level (fourthoval) Further out on the figure,centraladministrators need to develop knowledge aboutprincipalsand other adultprofessionalsas learners,as was true butmost obviousin the in the case of Dr. Garfield, case of District#2, which struggledwith how to help principalsbuild on theirknowledge of literacy to be ready for the challenges of a comparaCentraloffice adminble reformin mathematics. istratorsneed to know (a) what effective leaders reforms need to learn; and of curriculum-based (b) how they can best learnit. At minimum,then, the knowledge neededby centraloffice administrators would includewhatit meansto lead an organizationand move whole groupsof people to-

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LeadershipContentKnowledge

ward more sophisticatedforms of teaching and learning. The formation of learning environmentsfor canbe especiallytrickybecause,unlike principals tendto workin separate buildteachers, principals In large ings andto rarelytalkto otherprincipals. districts, a sense of learning communitycan be built by having monthlyprincipals'conferences, by assigning principalmentors, and by offering principalsstudy groups.In smallerdistricts,districtleadersmay need to seek out suchcommunities in cross-district consortiums. The Transformation of SubjectMatter Knowledgefor Leadership In speaking of pedagogical content knowledge, Shulmanarguedthatteacherstransformed subject-matter knowledge into a form of knowlthat took into accountits instructional intent. edge He had in mind the processes in which teachers who know their subjectwell use to develop versions of theircontentknowledge (problemsto be solved, representations, metaphors,etc.) that are accessible to students.If we think of leadership contentknowledge as a direct analogueof pedagogical contentknowledge,we wouldlook for the ways in which leaders transformtheir content knowledgefor the purposesof leading.Do administrators transform theircontentknowledgeinto a form thatmakes it possible to lead? What would suchtransformations look like?Whatdo administratorshave to know aboutleadershipin orderto know how to transform contentknowledge? we as However, analyze even the few cases we see thatin the case of leaderpresentedhere, the issue of transformation ship may not be so In some cases our administrators straightforward. transformed theircontentknowledge for the purposes of leadership,as, for example,Dr. Garfield did when he transformed his mathematics content a set of into curthat the knowledge questions riculumselection committeewould use to evaluate candidatecurricula.However, in other cases our administratorsappearedto transformtheir sense of leadershipon the basis of their content knowledge.In the same episode, Dr. Garfieldhad developed a new image of an intellectual community discussing mathematics, teaching, and learning,which generateda new view of how the curriculumselection committee could function, for which he needed to develop new skills. And in District #2, initially administrators'literacy

content knowledge was intertwined with their leadership knowledge, so that the functions of teachersupervision andprofessional development werebasedon whatwas appropriate in the field of literacy. When District #2 began to consider reform in the field of mathematics, they had to un-bundle their leadership knowledge from its literacy-embeddedness and re-think it for the field of mathematics.As we saw, it was not appropriateto adopt an existing curriculumin literacy but it was in mathematics; professional development arrangementsdeveloped for literacy needed to be rethoughtfor the field of mathematics; principalsneeded a new sense of what to look for when doing "walkthroughs" if they were to attendto mathematicsinstructionas well as literacy.It seems thatleadership,which draws its basic ideas fromthe fields of sociology andorganizational management, may itself become when contentknowledge is brought transformed into play. We now returnto our "postholing" metaphor. are deeply rooted in If individualadministrators one subject (or districts engage in thoroughgoing reformin one subject)we suspectthattheir leadershipknowledge and their content knowledge will become co-defined.Thatis, some leadso that ershippracticeswill become transformed but are no subject-specific. longer generic, they When the individual administrator,or the district, takes on the second subject, some of this subject-embedded leadership knowledge may need to be rethoughtin terms of the characteristics of the new subject. Otheraspects of leadership may be able to simply be reattachedto the new subject. Distinguishing leadership knowledge that must be subject specific, from leadership knowledge that can be generic is an empirical questionfor futureresearch. Conclusion In this articlewe haveproposedthatleadership contentknowledge is a missingparadigm in the analysis of school and district leadership. We have defined leadership content knowledge as that knowledge of subjects and how students when learn them that is used by administrators they functionas instructionalleaders.We traced leadership content knowledge through three cases situated at different school and district levels, proposing that as administrative levels increaseandfunctionsbecomebroader, leadership 445

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Stein and Nelson content knowledge becomes less fine-grained, though always anchored in knowledge of the subject, how it is learned, and how it is taught. We have suggested that all administrators have solid mastery of at least one subject (and the learning and teaching of it) and that they develop expertise in other subjects by "postholing," that is, conducting in-depth explorations of an important but bounded slice of the subject, how it is learned, and how it is taught. The purpose of postholing is to learn how knowledge is built in that subject, what learning tasks should look like, and what good instruction looks like. Such knowledge on the part of administrators would provide grounding for distributed leadership in schools and districts that is based on shared subject knowledge. But where administrators' knowledge is thin, the development of working groups, networks, or teams that are deliberately comprised in such way that the requisite knowledge is held by others in the group would be an alternate way to ensure that the necessary expertise was available for decision-making and the development of schoolwide or district-wide policies and plans. We proposed that at every administrative level leadership content knowledge includes knowledge of how the other adults in its purview learn, and we began an exploration of how content knowledge and leadership knowledge might be intertwined. The construct of leadership content knowledge opens entirely new realms of thought about leadership---connecting it directly to the core function of schooling, learning and teaching-and raising the question whether generic studies of leadership can really get at the heart of what it means to lead schools and school districts. Without knowledge that connects subject matter, learning, and teaching to acts of leadership, leadership floats disconnected from the very processes it is designed to govern. Just as the construct of pedagogical content knowledge has marked out new and very generative research questions and sites for research, so the construct of leadership content knowledge may open up new questions about what it means to provide instructional leadership in schools. Notes are Increasingly,largeurbandistricts,in particular, designatingadministrative positionsas specificallyinstructionalpositions. For example, in San Diego nine "Instructional Leaders"reportto a "Chancellor for Inin New York City, 10 regions are divided struction;" into networks,each of which is overseen by a "Local Instructional Superintendent." 2 Except forjust having takenthe mathematicseducation courses, the principalsin this study were quite typical. All had been elementaryteachersfor at least eight years and elementary school principals for at least 10 years. All reported that they had not liked mathematicsin school and took the minimal amount throughhigh school and college. 3Spillane,Halverson,& Diamond(2001) andothers have called attentionto the fact thatleadershipis exercised not only by those in formallyidentifiedadministrativepositionsbutalso by teacherleaders,department andothers.Elmore(2000) has heads,resourceteachers, also writtenaboutthe role of distributed leadershipin large-scalesystemic reform. 4 With the passage of No Child Left Behind, accountability models have come to dominate discussions of how to improve schools, the underlying theorybeing thatsanctionsappliedto publicly identified poorperformingschools and/orrewardsprovided to publicly identifiedsuccessfully performingschools will motivateimprovementsin instructionalpractice. These approacheshave been criticized as primarily leading to "teachingto the test"(McNeil, 2002), leaving unchangedthe capacityof teachersto delivermore Learningmodels, high qualityandrigorousinstruction. on the other hand, posit that in order to bring about moreambitiousteachingandlearningin the classroom, individualsat all levels of the system need to learn to do something new. Teachersneed to learn to teach in more cognitively demandingways; principalsneed to learnhow to assist teachersto teach in more demanding ways; and districtleadersmust learnhow to assist principals to encourage teacher learning (Tharp & Gallimore, 1988; Stein & D'Amico, 2002b). 5AdaptedfromBrown,A. L. & Greeno,J. G. (1999). Recommendationsregarding researchpriorities: An AdvisoryReportto theNationalEducationalResearch Policy and Priorities Board (section on Teachers' Professional Development headed by M. Lampert). Washington,DC: NationalAcademy of Education. 6 The namesof administrators, schools, anddistricts in this case are pseudonyms. 7 During the year of this study, we observed of mathematics Mrs. West doing observations instruction in five differentclassrooms.We observedherpreobservation conferenceswith theseteachers,the classes she observed,andherpost-observation conferencewith each teacher.We interviewedher before this series of of eachclass, andattheend events,afterthe observation of the observationsequencewith teachteacher. 8 The childrenhad been told thattherewere 10 people on a vehicle (bus, raft, spaceship). They were to choose a numberless than 10 to representhow many got off at a certainpoint, and then to figure out how

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LeadershipContentKnowledge many were left on the vehicle. Their worksheet had picturesof the vehicles andthey were to make a horizontal number sentence of the subtractionproblem they generated.Therewas no subsequentwhole-group discussion of this work. 9The namesof administrators, schools, anddistricts in this case are pseudonyms. 10This case drawson an earlierversion by Driscoll, Nelson, Sassi, and Kennedy (2000). For this case we interviewed Dr. Garfieldat the beginning and at the end of the curriculumselection process. We observed every meeting of the curriculumselection committee and interviewedDr. Garfieldaftereach meeting about the actionshe took (or didn'ttake) at thatmeeting.We also interviewed several members of the curriculum selection committeeto ascertainhow typical this curriculum selection process was in Avon. " This case drawsupona largefive-yeardataset collected as partof the High Performance LearningCommunitiesproject.The datainclude periodicinterviews with the superintendent,deputy superintendent,and the director of professional development, as well as interviewswiththedirector of mathematics. In addition, we conducted intensive case studies of nine schools in the district,which includedclassroomobservations, interviews with teachers and other staff (including with andinterviews coaches),andongoinginteractions of principals.Finally,we observedprofessionaldevelandseveralof opmentin bothliteracyandmathematics the monthlyprincipalmeetings. 12 OtherthanAlvarado,all District#2 personnelare referredto by pseudonyms. 13 Therewas a suggesteddistrict-widesequence for the orderin which units should be taughtwithin each gradelevel. 14 Some principalsreceived mentors,all principals belongedto a principalsupportgroup,andthe monthly principalconferences were devoted to issues of leadershipin literacy. 15 We saw little evidence that classroom discussions of text in District #2 incorporated different rules of evidence depending on the teachers' goals for the discussion and the underlyingorientationthat would have been appropriate for those goals. Teachers did not appear to be familiar with the range of conventions for building knowledge in the various disciplines thatunderlayschool literacyin orderto be able to help literacy students learn to adjust their styles of discourse depending on the models of literary practice being enacted. 16 Structuresinclude stylistic conventions such as oftenbebuildingon thepreviousspeaker'sstatements, because." ginningwith "I agree(or disagree)with 17 Because of the nature of the task discussed in this third case--district-wide mathematics reform-and District#2's philosophyof using principalsas a linchpin in suchreforms,the learningof principalsbecomes salient in this case, whereas it was not in the case of James Garfield (or at least not in the part of his responsibilitiesthatwe observed).

References
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Authors
MARY KAY STEINis Associate Professor,School of Education,Research Scientist, LearningResearch and Development Center, 828 LRDC Building, 3939 O'Hara Street, University of Pittsburgh,PA 15260; MKStein@pitt.edu. Her areas of specialization are teacher mathematics teachingandlearning, professional development,relationshipbetween policy/leadership and teacherlearning. BARBARA S. NELSON is ProjectDirector,Education Development Center, 55 Chapel Street, Newton, MA 02458; bnelson@edc.org. Her areas of specialization are teacher learning in mathematics, mathematics education, administratorlearning, and leadershipcontentknowledge. ManuscriptReceived November 15, 2002 Revision Received November 20, 2003 Accepted November 20, 2003

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