Building Leadership Capacity

With the myriad responsibilities required of us as middle level leaders, we can’t go it alone. Building a culture of collaborative leadership is one of the hallmarks of the school improvement framework outlined in Breaking Ranks in the Middle. But, to develop this spirit of collaborative leadership, school leaders need to help strengthen the leadership abilities of others—beginning administrators, assistant principals, teachers, and aspiring administrators to name a few. This issue of the Middle Level Leader looks at ways current school leaders can help develop this capacity in others.

Patti Kinney
Principal, National Center for Middle Level Leadership

Leadership Priorities for Novice Middle Level Principals
NASSP Middle Level Task Force members Ken McEwin and Nancy Chodoroff provide guidance in setting priorities for new middle level administrators and remind us of what’s important for experienced school leaders as well.

Becoming a new middle level principal is exciting, challenging, and rewarding. Every new principal faces a complex set of unique opportunities and responsibilities for creating and maintaining developmentally responsive, socially equitable middle level programs and practices. Unfortunately, it can not be assumed that all novice principals have received specialized professional preparation focused on the middle level or have previous middle level teaching or administrative experience. Therefore, it is imperative that novice middle level principals learn as much as possible as quickly as possible about young adolescents, components of successful middle level programs and practices, middle level curriculum and instruction, and other key topics. (Continue reading.)

Practical Suggestions for Developing Leadership Capacity in Others
These suggestions are a compilation of ideas gathered from the NASSP Middle Level Task Force as well as other seasoned middle level leaders.

Building Leadership Capacity: From a Teacher-Leader's Viewpoint
Middle level task force member Nancy Chodoroff shares her thoughts on how she was able to move into the role of a teacher-leader.

I am a teacher and consider myself to have developed into a teacher leader over the course of my career. I have been in the classroom for all but five years of my career—and those five years were spent in a position unique to my district: facilitating teacher. This position enabled me to wear a number of hats, including that of a master teacher whose job it was to provide curriculum information, coach, and do demonstration lessons on specific topics for colleagues in my building. But even before my stint as facilitating teacher (the job eventually fell prey to budget cuts) and certainly since then, I have had many exciting opportunities to participate in the growth of my school and district. (Continue reading.)

From the Archives
From the archives of Principal Leadership come a few additional perspectives on developing leadership skills. (NASSP member login required for archived articles. Not a member? Join now!)

Getting Out of the Way: A Lesson in Change
To build a professional learning community, a principal allows teachers to work as a group to discuss and carry out their own professional development goals. By Douglas McEnery

Preparing Future Principals
A grow–your–own partnership between a university and a school district increases the leadership skills and readiness of potential school administrators. By Kathryn Whitaker

From the Ground Up: Growing Your Own Principals
Hands-on learning is most effective not only for students but also for aspiring principals and teachers. By Ben Hix, Sue Wall, and Jana Frieler

More Than a Disciplinarian
Assistant principals can go beyond their traditional roles and become trusted instructional leaders. By Wayne Gerke