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School Heads in the 21st Century

By Imelda Del Rosario
Principal, Pamplona High School

The position of a school principal is certainly a demanding one. So many groups and individuals have expectations to what school heads should give and achieve.

According to Marsh (1992), each of the groups has its own expectations of a School Head/Principal.
Parents and community members expect someone who is public-minded and high-principled. They expect a person who is open to outside invitations and who will regularly communicate with them.

Teachers expect their school heads to be functional leaders and supporters of common initiatives. The school head is expected by teachers to be very visible and active around the school campus.

Students expect a sympathetic counselor in their school head. He/she is expected to be the final arbiter on matters of justice, discipline, and in giving penalties. Above all, they expect an inspirational model and charismatic figurehead.

Government officials and senior officers expect school heads to be thorough, reliable, efficient, and capable of implementing and monitoring departmental policies and to be surely influenced by vocal minority groups.

The School Head as a CEO – The core track or business of a school is to provide quality education. The school head’s primary responsibility is to keep the school on track. Like a CEO efficiently running a company/business establishment, a school head/principal needs to think about many things: finances, personnel, delivery of quality service, good business representation, and even manifesting a legal client base. What keeps things together is the instructional leadership that the school head/principal is expected to demonstrate.

Instructional leadership is something specific to a school head/principal. It refers to anything that school leaders do to improve teaching and learning in the school. It focuses on learning and its promotions. This is the reason why instructional leaders are also called learning leaders (Marsh, 1992).

Instructional leadership facilitates directions and support for a school head’s instructional program. An instructional leader aims to improve instruction to achieve the goals of quality education. To do this, the school head makes sure that existing policies, practices, and resources are aligned with the goal. In other words, a school is effective if the principal is practicing Instructional leadership.

The school’s primary goal is to provide quality education is first and foremost delivered in the classroom through the teachers who provide instruction. This means that as a school head/principal, your job is to see to it that quality instruction is provided in your school.

A school principal has a lot of responsibilities. Different groups expect different things from school heads. A common expectation, however, is that the principal should demonstrate leadership.

Countries that perform best in educating their children are most likely to enjoy the highest levels of economic success. The school head plays an important role in achieving this end.


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