What Is A Good Educational Leader

What is an Educational Leader?  Well, let’s start with what is a leader?  I seriously never ever gave this question any thought until I was in college for my Masters Degree.  I registered for a class called “Leadership” – like who doesn’t want to be a leader right?  This course was truly one of the best classes I had ever taken.  This was before leadership was such a hot topic and we spent most of our time evaluating what is a manager versus what is a leader.

The very first thing we did was read The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli.  It was never clear if this was a true practical guide for “ruling” or if it was a satirical piece about how not to rule.  As a student I found this piece incredibly interesting no matter how you viewed its creation.  From the perspective of how not to rule – we began the basis for what is leadership.

I am in an executive management position in education – however, I strive to be a leader but am required to be a manager.

What is a Leader?

  • Responsible – a leader is not quick to pass the blame.
  • Hard Working – this doesn’t necessarily mean 24/7 but it does mean that you don’t sit back and relax while others do everything.
  • Respect/Kindness/Compassion – everyone deserves respect and the right to maintain their dignity.  A leader should model that as well as instill that in others.
  • Honesty – this is a huge one.  So many people who view themselves as leaders in this day and age need a lesson in honesty.  It seems somehow core values get compromised on the path to power.  But Machiavellian power is not the answer – it contributes to the problem.
  • Proactive – it isn’t just about being proactive with tasks, but also proactive with people.  Anticipate their needs.  If someone has suffered a loss – offer compassion, be generous, go the extra mile.
    • Give when you don’t need to
    • Stand up/Stand out – and Stand alone if you need to
    • Do the right thing/Do it the right way
  • Humble – don’t seek the spotlight.  Do it because it is worth doing; it is the right thing to do.
  • Recognition – pay attention.  Recognize others for what they do.
  • Empower Others – lift people up, give them responsibility and reward.

This is not an exhaustive list – but the gist is a leader is someone people choose to follow.  I am sure you have known leaders in your life and I am sure you have known some that were NOT.

Educational Leaders

I currently work in education and so does my husband.  I am on the business side as a business administrator and he is a school principal.  We are both in positions of management but prefer to be considered leaders to both staff and students.  In my case I work in an urban school district with poverty is prevalent and diversity is everywhere.  Being a leader is so critical to our community and we work very hard to be what we believe they all need and deserve.

But I have also been in school and had amazing educational leaders – and some maybe not so much.  I do feel I was very fortunate and had so many.

  • Mr. Achtemeier – taught me that I could still be all that I wanted to be even with all the family struggles at that time.  Taught me that I mattered and I could make a difference.
  • Mrs. Pempek – who would have thought my favorite subjects would have become math and science?  She built solid communities of respect.
  • Mr. Fulco – he made English so much more than just a text.  He brought creativity, individuality and respect to our world.

I have also worked with many educational leaders – true leaders and value their friendships to this day.  A leader also should always learn about other leaders.  We can always learn more and more and Ronnie Brown Mansfield is a great resource.

What do you see in a Leader?


  • Emidio Amadebai

    I believe in a leader who is emotionally intelligent, caring, human, who takes and gives feedback in a positive manner. Someone who everyone would go to the extra mile for them without being asked for.
    And in turn, he/she should be willing to constantly go to the extra mile for his collaborators/followers. 🙂

  • Ladonna Batiste

    A good leader knows her position. She knows when to lead and when to follow. When one person harnesses their powers to lead, it doesn’t diminish the leadership opportunities of others, it should strengthen them. In other words, the best leaders empower others to become effective leaders as well.

  • Tina Bowling

    The things I see in a good leader is someone who does not stand above everyone else. A good leader to me walks among all of us and can always look at situations from another’s perspective.

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