Principals of Leadership
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The last component is one that Kourilsky stresses. With all of
the emphasis on pushing school administrators to think like business
leaders, Kourilsky and other instructors continue to underscore
the importance of personal relationships. For a school, being customer-oriented
is very different than for a business, says Kourilsky. "It's
While replicating successful programs and practices is as crucial
to school leaders as it is to business leaders, the approach a school
leader must take should include a complete understanding of their
school site's specific needs.
Ana Ponce tried replicating the coffee sessions from her old school
at her new school using the same approach and quickly learned her
new school required a different method.
Ponce laughs now when recalling the somewhat awkward coffee session
this past fall. Ultimately, though, she understood why parents might
have initially been wary of chatting with the principal.
"They have to see first that I am open to them," she
says. "When you are a principal, it's not just about managing
an organization. It's about relationships with the school and the
people who are part of it: the staff, the teachers, the students
and the families. You must very much be a part of the organization
you are directing to be an effective leader."