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Successful School Leadership Across Contexts and Cultures

Article #4

Bib. Information
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Type of Resource:
Summary of essential

Way in which this

source influences the
field related to your

Gurr, D. (2014). Successful school leadership across contexts and cultures.

Leading and Managing, 20(2), 75-88.
David Gurr: The University of Melbourne; International Successful School
Principalship Project and the International Leadership Development Network
Scholarly article that presents a research study.
This study examines principals in various contexts and cultures, and the
characteristics that made them successful. The researchers were able to study
and interview the principals of various schools to see what they had in common
and the differences they exhibited. What they found was that each principal had
some core leadership behaviors, which include setting direction, developing
people, and improving teaching and learning. The differences were in their
attitudes toward change. Some embraced change and others protected the
culture and vision of what they were trying to do, only changing when it was
necessary. Some leaders focused on capacity building, while others focused on
knowing oneself and building on the legacy of past principals, and engaging
with and influencing the context (p.86 paraphrase). Here are some key points
from the author:
Successful school leaders:
have high expectations for all
employ multiple conceptions of leadership and utilize a core set of
practices focused on setting direction, developing people, leading
change and improving teaching and learning
model leadership that is both heroic and inclusive
foster collaboration and collective endeavor
acknowledge and embrace their symbolic role
display integrity, trust and transparency
are people centered
focus their efforts on the development of others
are able to lead in challenging contexts and view challenges as obstacles
to overcome rather than problems that are insurmountable
develop a range of appropriate personal qualities, with appropriate core
values and beliefs articulated and lived (p. 86)
This scholarly article influences my topic because it looks at characteristics of
successful school leaders. This article can help me as a new school leader to

inquiry (ex. Math

Potential relevance to
your research topic
and study:

grow and develop in these core areas. This can help me to focus my time and
attention while trying to build a culture of teamwork and collaboration.

Stage of action
research where the
source will be used:

Background- This study provides background knowledge about leadership of

successful school leaders. This relates to my action research project because I
am looking at how I as a new assistant director can build a team culture.
Findings- This article supports findings of effective collaboration. It gives
research indicating that effective leaders foster collaboration.
Implications/Action Planning-This article supports my plans to continue
research and move forward with developing a team building approach to
leadership. It will guide me in self-reflection as I look at the core areas of
successful school leaders. As I lead the team, I can collect data and self-reflect
on what my team needs from me. I may even ask the teachers to reflect in their
journals about what they feel they need from the school leader.

This article is relevant to my topic because it highlights what makes school

leaders successful. One of the core values successful school leaders embrace is
the development of their teaching staff. This is my goal during this process.