Here’s a question for you if you’re a principal : what is the purpose of your “leadership” team?
What is that you want to accomplish by bringing a group of teachers together and calling them “the leadership team” or something similar? Have you pondered that question or are you having a leadership team because there was one when you got there?
It’s reasonable to suggest that a leadership team might serve several purposes depending upon what you’ve charged them to do. The purpose of your leadership team should precede picking your teachers, but in many cases it doesn’t. So, what is your leadership team about? Why do you bring them together?
Here are a few purposes of school-level leadership teams. Think about which best describes yours.
- Administration: This remains one of the functions of many grade-level and department leaders in schools around the country. In these configurations, the leadership team is responsible for completing purchase orders, distributing materials, and for the most part serving as a distribution center for the members of her department or team.
- Representative: Some leadership teams are set up like a faculty senate or a student council. The members of the team represent a group; they come together and listen to a variety of things on an agenda. They may give their opinions, and in some schools they even ‘vote’ on items. This representative function looks different than a purely administrative design; the teachers represent their colleagues and come to your leadership team meeting to interact with the information and make decisions.
- Ambassador: This is the reverse of the representative form of leadership team. In this format, you bring teachers in and prepare them to represent the leadership team with their grade-level or department.
- Hybrid: Many schools have a hybrid of the previously-mentioned leadership teams. They do some of the administration work, and some representing of their teachers, and some representing to their teachers.
- Distributed: In this model, you distribute the leadership of the school to a number of people. Some may be department heads or grade-level leaders, others might be responsible for a program or initiative (PBIS, Freshman Academy, Pre-K). This is different because you give broad authority to the individuals in charge of each group of teachers.
Which describes your leadership team? There isn’t a right answer, but it’s one that you should be intentional about. Obviously, some schools have a faculty who is ready for more responsibility than another. The same is true for leaders; some leaders are more apt to share responsibility than others.
What you ought to be considering is this: what model of leadership team would best serve the school and the students? As we spent a week’s worth of columns last week looking at teacher-leaders and teacher teams, if you’re a regular reader, you probably know that this fits in somewhere with that initiative.
We will spend more time this week looking at teacher-leaders, the administrators who support them, and how we design for success. To begin that conversation, here’s a homework assignment: which of the models above best describe your current design of your leadership team?