Principal Leadership - December 2014 - (Page 32)

Leading TOGETHER Reculturing the Assistant Principalship Beverly J. Hutton ll educators who embark upon the journey of educational administration do so with the intention to be a change agent-one that makes a positive difference in the lives of students and teachers. The aspiration is to lead a school environment that is both collegial and collaborative, where all constituents work together for the common good of all members of the school community. Assistant principals enter educational administration because they want to be school leaders-leaders of vision, people, and purpose. Assistant principalship is the entry level to educational administration and the gateway to the principalship, yet many assistant principals will say they have been ill-prepared for lead principalship (Chan, Web, & Bowen, 2003). The question is: Why? Why aren't assistant principals being prepared to become lead principals? What skills are they lacking? What experiences haven't they been exposed to? Who is responsible for their professional growth and development? Teachers receive professional development in the areas of teaching and learning. Supervisors receive professional development in the areas of curriculum and assessment. Principals receive professional development in the areas of data analysis, leadership, and management. However, assistant principals typically do not receive any professional development in the areas to which they are traditionally assigned-student conflict, staff relations, and facilities management-and 32 Principal Leadership | December 2014 development in only those areas does not prepare them to become lead principals. Orientation into the assistant principalship is more like "baptism by fire, sink or swim" (Marshall & Hooley, 2006). This needs to change! But the real change needs to be in the perception of the position itself. Even though some assistant principals have already begun to recognize that their jobs can be more satisfying if they assert themselves beyond their typical areas of responsibility, all assistant principals should be actively engaged in professional activities and responsibilities that prepare them for the lead principalship. Thus, a "perceptual reculturing" of the assistant principalship is needed to facilitate a culture of shared leadership within the school community. The assistant principalship is an untapped area of school leadership potential. In this era of increased accountabilities placed on schools, the position needs and warrants more attention (Bartholomew, Melendez, Delaney, Orta, & White, 2005). A school community benefits greatly from the leadership power that emerges when the skills and insight of every member of the school leadership team are utilized. Therefore, it is imperative that a collaborative, collegial, and cooperative relationship between the lead principal and the assistant principal be established and conscientiously nurtured. The national education agenda, which includes the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal Leadership - December 2014

From the Editor
Bulletin Board
Cases in Point
Healthy Schools, Healthy Students
Thinking Outside the Office
Engagement: The Secret to Sustainable Learning
Motivation: The Key to Academic Success in Culturally Diverse High Schools
Leading Together: Reculturing the Assistant Principalship
Incentivizing Accomplishment
Learn to Move, Move to Learn
What Teachers Need: Support in a Time of Reform
Student Services
Instructional Leader
Breaking Ranks in Practice
Discussion Guide

Principal Leadership - December 2014