How Do You Plan to Get There?
The third question requires the hard
Teachers may not know the words in the
work. Unless principals plan carefully—
with the help of formal and informal
leaders in our schools—their vision will
be nothing but wishful thinking. How
can the principal turn a vision into a
workable plan? Here are a few ways:
n Organize committees around spe-
cific issues. For example, a buildingwide
goal to increase cultural literacy may
become the responsibility of several
teachers who study the issue, create an
action plan, present it to staff members,
implement the plan, and assess its
n Create learning communities of
teachers who examine the needs of spe-
cific groups of students and develop a
plan to meet these needs.
n Form a leadership team of rep-
school’s formal vision statement, but they
do know what is important to the principal.
resentative teachers and staff. This
group can determine the agenda for
faculty meetings so they are better
focused on teacher needs. This team
might also develop a meaningful school
improvement plan and assess building
needs against that plan.
Max DePree, who writes about
servant leadership, tells us that leaders
1 In struggling with the
core questions that schools confront,
leaders view the school as what it could
be—what it might become. The answers
to these three questions become the
beacons that direct the daily activity in
the school, create priorities amid the
whirlwind of each day’s activities, and
bring focus to the life of the principal
and the school.EL
1DePree, M. (1989). Leadership is an art.
New York: Dell.
Joanne Rooney is codirector of the
Midwest Principals’ Center; joanne
for Today’s Schools.
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