Jsl Vol 13-N4

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The Journal of School Leadership is broadening the conversation about schools and leadership and is currently accepting manuscripts. We welcome manuscripts based on cutting-edge research from a wide variety of theoretical perspectives and methodological orientations. The editorial team is particularly interested in working with international authors, authors from traditionally marginalized populations, and in work that is relevant to practitioners around the world. Growing numbers of educators and professors look to the six bimonthly issues to: deal with problems directly related to contemporary school leadership practice teach courses on school leadership and policy use as a quality reference in writing articles about school leadership and improvement.

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Creative Destruction: Changing a High School’s Administrative Structure

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ABE LUJÁN ARMENDÁRIZ

ABSTRACT: This is a case study of a high school located in the southwestern United States that restructured its traditional hierarchical administrative structure to a Dean Model. The Dean Model is a collaborative system aimed at personalizing services to students by separating the school into smaller units through deanships. Observations and interviews were conducted to assess the rationale and philosophies behind the Dean Model as well as the principal’s, deans’, and students’ attitudes and perceptions of the implementation of the model. Key issues in implementing the new model are identified and discussed. Advantages and disadvantages of the model are presented, as are implications for the future of high school administration.

In 1983, A Nation at Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) awakened educators to the fact that our current educational system was in need of repair and that mediocrity was no longer acceptable. Since then, countless efforts have been made to reform education through the restructuring of programs at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels. The term “restructuring” indicates a change in regulations, procedures, policies, and programs (Schlechty, 1990). It denotes changing the progression of events, disconnecting from the past, and letting as little as possible of the past interfere in the newly established journey into the future. Also implied in the term is the changing of rules, roles, relationships, and behaviors (Murphy & Hallinger, 1993). It is this changing of the established rules, roles, relationships, and behaviors that will be discussed in this case study in terms of one high school’s shifting to a new administrative structure, the Dean Model.

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Is Androcentric Bias in the Educational Workplace on the Wane? Perplexing Findings

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ROSE MARY NEWTON
PETER ZEITOUN

ABSTRACT: Androcentrism is a value system that views the male perspective as superior to the female perspective. Some theorists maintain that androcentric bias explains why, compared to their numbers in education, women continue to be underrepresented in administrative positions. This article reports the findings of a study examining teacher reactions to job descriptions depicting attributes of the principalship purported to influence men and women differently. Contrary to our expectations, both men and women preferred the job descriptions depicting the collaborative style of leadership previously ascribed to women. Does this finding portend the demise of the gender-based value system found in educational administration?

Several trends have converged recently to create an alarming shortage of qualified applicants for principal vacancies. Principals are retiring in record numbers, a high number of principals are opting for nonadministrative positions, and classroom teachers are increasingly reluctant to fill the vacated positions (Barker, 1997; Doud & Keller, 1998; McAdams, 1998; Muse & Thomas, 1991). Nationwide, superintendents report difficulty in filling vacancies, and position announcements that typically generated 75 applicants a few years ago now produce a mere handful of responses (Adams, 1999a; Barker, 1997; Educational Research Service [ERS], 1998). The shortage is predicted to intensify over the course of the next decade as more than one third of the current cohort of principals reach retirement age (Doud & Keller, 1998; National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 1997).

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Career Patterns of American Superintendents

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LARS BJÖRK
JOHN KEEDY
D. KEITH GURLEY

ABSTRACT: Stemming from a nationwide survey of superintendents (Glass, Björk, & Brunner, 2000), this article dispels the myth that there is a crisis facing the American school superintendency. Though we note a slight increase in the median age of superintendents, most chief school executives are satisfied in their current positions and tend to stay longer and retire later than they did a decade ago. Further evidence suggests that career patterns and characteristics of women and people of color in the superintendency tend to differ from those of their White, male counterparts and that the underrepresentation of these populations within the field continues to be of concern. Recommendations for policy development, based upon empirically identified challenges in the field, rather than unfounded myths of crisis, are included.

Widespread concern for the quality of schooling during the last two decades of the 20th century (1983–2002) launched what is arguably the most intense, comprehensive, and sustained effort to improve education in American history. Although most education reform reports emphasized improving curriculum, teaching, and learning, several national commission and task force reports that called for fundamentally altering the manner in which schools are structured, managed, and governed. Several reports acknowledged that principals were key to educational reform and excellent schools (American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, 1988; Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy, 1986; Holmes Group, 1986). During the early 1990s, however, interest in large-scale systemic reform shifted attention from the school level to the district level and focused increasing attention on the role of superintendents in educational reform. While some change agents indicted superintendents for obstructing reform (Murphy, 1995), others recognized that school superintendents have considerable influence on a host of matters that indirectly influence program quality (Björk, 1993) and, consequently, play an important role in the ultimate success of reform in the nation’s schools (Björk, 2000; Kirst, 1994).

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Invisible, Limited, and Emerging Discourse: Research Practices That Restrict and/or Increase Access for Women and Persons of Color to the Superintendency

ePub

C. CRYSS BRUNNER

ABSTRACT: The intent of this article is to provide some evidence that decisions— about the use of data—are critical and can result in discourse that is inaccurate about and unsupportive of women and persons of color. Evidence is gathered through an examination of the published data used in The Study of the American School Superintendency (Glass, Björk, & Brunner, 2000) published and funded by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). In sum, the article illustrates how choices about which and how much data to publish can result in the reification of the status quo and/or generation of a tremendously powerful new discourse that establishes the inclusive norms for a new genre of superintendency.

It is well documented that constructions of gender and race have been particularly effective in limiting superintendency access for women and persons of color (Bell & Chase, 1993; Blount, 1998; Brunner, 1999; Grogan, 1996; Shakeshaft, 1989; Skrla; 2000; Tallerico, 2000). In fact, around 13% of the representative sample in the American Association of School Administrators’ (AASA) 10-year study of the superintendency (Glass, Björk, & Brunner, 2000) were women and around 5% were persons of color. While the percentages of women and persons of color in the superintendency increased slightly in the past decade, the numbers across the entire 20th century remained low and fairly stable (Blount, 1998). Even as concerns are voiced about shortages of school administrator (including superintendency) candidates (Anthony, Roe, & Young, 2000; Houston, 1998; McAdams, 1998), the underrepresentation of women and persons of color in these positions remains significant.

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The Reality and Myth of the Superintendent Shortage: Implications for Research and Educational Policy

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LARS G. BJÖRK
MARGARET GROGAN
BONNIE C. JOHNSON

An examination of research findings on the perception of a precipitous decline in the quantity and quality of superintendent applicants was undertaken by leading scholars in the field and is reported in two consecutive issues of the Journal of School Leadership. We trust that this authoritative body of work adds to the knowledge base, informs the national debate, and will guide policy deliberations in the coming years. The intent of the authors of this brief end piece is to reflect on empirical findings as well as to introduce a number of provocative scholarly observations that will hopefully elevate and focus future policy debates.

Policymakers, practitioners, professors, and heads of professional associations are engaged in a heated debate about whether there is a crisis in the superintendency. This debate, by and large, is being driven by widespread perceptions of declining numbers and quality of individuals in superintendent search pools and is raising concern as to who will lead school districts in the coming decade. A number of analysts are concerned that if the claims supporting the rhetoric of a crisis in the field go unchallenged, it will create an atmosphere in which policymakers will be compelled to offer simplistic solutions to problems that don’t exist.

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Professing Educational Leadership: The Value of Listening

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P. KAY DUNCAN

ABSTRACT: This article explores the imperative of fully incorporating the practice of “listening” within educational administration preparation programs. The purpose behind this exploration is to validate and substantiate the need for “open listening” in university classrooms so that those who are to be educational leaders will have models that habituate them to pedagogical social justice. The article begins with an examination of democratic pedagogy and democratic leadership practice, focusing on listening and the relevance of listening for learning and for leadership. The second part of the article is an authentic case study that presents an opportunity to link theory to practice by means of a complex real-life dilemma in which listening plays an important role. The article concludes with a section devoted to examples of learning activities that are designed so that all in the classroom are placed in a position of listening intently and respectfully to one another.

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