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Spring 2004
The Education Imperative
Beyond Rhetoric
8 Mile
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Starting Out on the Right Path
Principals of Leadership
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Globalization’s Missing Middle
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Spring 2004
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 not Starbucks."

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."

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