Training Standards for School Administrators

As Dr. David Milton takes the helm at The State Education Department, a fresh challenge awaits him.  New York  requires that a School Administrator become licensed by the State, (as it does with principals). Very often this process is undertaken by a successful classroom teacher, who having achieved a certain level of proficiency moves to the next step in the hierarchy to “management”

It is often stated that a school is in the “people business” this is true, yet the business aspect of this cliché is sometimes forgotten. Many customers are served by the business of education, the student, the parent, and ultimately the taxpayer – who theoretically benefits from a well educated community.
The management end of this business, even when steered by an expert “former” classroom teacher, needs a manager concerned with the complete health of his or her business. This Business to be managed has many divisions, as they are known in the private sector. Student services delivery, quality control in hiring, careful management of collective bargaining agreements, the constant education of the community served, and a solid public relations program, to ensure continued financial and budgetary support. These are daunting tasks.
An educated, licensed and successful teacher is often handed these tasks with a map written in pencil. Our new Administrator may now deal with an Elected Board of Education, (perhaps comprised of well meaning parents), and a collective bargaining agreement that he or she had no input into crafting. Top this off by handing this new executive a limited budget.
In this situation it is clear that a mentoring program for leaders in our education system is a necessity. We invest heavily in our education systems, and we must also invest in educational leadership and training.
We are asking our educational CEO’s to run a business for us, in which the stock is changing constantly, there are shifting standards, and new laws and mandates are thrown around on the wind. If we looked at the myriad of tasks that a school leader may perform, and then tried and write a list of skills needed for success in the position, we would end up with a full book. Lawyer, Doctor, Priest, Policeman, Counselor, and Diplomat, all rolled up in a bundle. It would be nearly impossible to write a curriculum for that kind of training.
If we were purchasing stock in this business we would insist that our company leaders have all the training and support they need, and we would make no assumptions that they bring all the needed skills with them to the Job.
Being a skilled and dynamic teacher, will not be enough to guarantee a smooth transition to success
In education administration, without the commitment toward lifelong learning that we often hear about. Continued education for our educational leaders, is a must, and also the fulfillment of a great management principle “leadership by example”.

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