If you are in the field of education you must ask yourself the question:
Am I an educational leader?
It’s an essential question for any educator today because our traditional view of leadership has changed for the better. Over the years leadership in education was defined by title. A person in education would go from teacher to supervisor, vice principal, principal, etc. and through the title changes be considered a leader in a subject, building and/or district. For better or worse your leadership was not defined by your actions but by a specific job responsibility.
Today, that definition of educational leader is changing. First, let’s be clear that being deemed a leader does not need to come with a specific title, and even with the title an educator may not be a leader. Leadership in education is now being defined by actions and engagement. An educational leader today is one who, regardless of title, exhibits the following ten traits:
- Willingness to learn new things
- Committed to providing an excellent learning environment for those you are responsible for in your classroom, school or district
- Looks to motivate those you have immediate contact with and those outside your traditional circle of influence
- Continually self-evaluates your own place in the educational structure and adapts for the betterment of education
- Keeps a focus on what’s most important; students and their learning
- Continually engages in professional development to improve your own knowledge and skills
- Develops and expands a professional learning network through connections and collaboration in social media
- Works to develop other educational leaders in the classroom, school office and central office
- Helps developing and new educators find their way so that they too can one day lead
- Gives back to the profession
Education needs leaders that do not meet the traditional definition of leadership so that our schools and districts can progress to meet the demands of a rapidly changing society. I challenge every educator who works in our schools to look at the above traits and work to be a leader who moves our educational system forward, regardless of your title. If you do so, you will be able to answer YES to the question!