Constructing an educational seawall: a study of leadership, organizational dynamics, policy, and purpose
This descriptive case study challenges the notion that top-down leadership is ineffective in engendering ownership and lasting commitment by those in the schools responsible for promoting educational change. My research examines the impact of a top-down directive initiated by a new superintendent on elementary principals and teachers. The directive, focused on teacher evaluation, required principals to effectively manage the routine activities within their school, while at the same time authentically demonstrating their value for instructional leadership by completing a minimum of 70 classroom observations during the school year. This study traces the implementation of the policy in a Pacific Northwest school district over the course of two years. It study focuses on the reflections, experiences and actions of six elementary principals and a sample of teachers in their schools. It examines the conditions within the organization and the human dynamics among the superintendent, principals, and teachers that promoted and challenged the policy implementation and ownership, and commitment to change. The actions of the superintendent are analyzed, first in an effort to see how one man elected to exercise leadership from his position of authority, and second to see how principals responded to the superintendent's initiative. And finally, this study examines the influence the policy had on principals' conception of their leadership role, how it altered their responsibilities, and the impact it had on the manner in which they worked with teachers.
- Education - Seattle