African American Urban School Principal Servant Leadership

African American Urban School Principal Servant Leadership

Wafa Hozien (Virginia State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5840-0.ch007
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The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the characteristics of African American school principals and the obstacles they experience on their path to the principalship. A secondary purpose, but very important as well, is to analyze critically the experiences of successful African American male principals to help inform the preparation of principals who lead organizations of diverse demographics. Investigating this area also contributes to the much-needed educational discourse of African American principal attitudes, beliefs, and life experiences of principals in education today, and how they are meeting the needs of a growing multicultural population. The principals are the primary units of analysis, and it is the intent of this chapter to delve into the lives of the participants to gain a better understanding of the barriers and obstacles they have to overcome to become principals.
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School administrators are confronted with more issues and higher standards due to increased accountability than ever before (Li, 2012; Leithwood, Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004). Successful leadership includes not only daily administrative duties but impacting student learning. In order for this to happen, leaders must be able to set directions and goals for students and staff members. Leaders must be able to develop people to take on leadership roles which require the school leader to articulate a vision and create high performance standards (Covey, 2002; Leithwood, Louis, Anderson, & Walstrom, 2004, Taylor, 2007). School leaders have to change their way of thinking to better meet the demands for student accountability, instructional leadership, and day-to-day operations of the school. The requirements of school leadership continues to change by now requiring school leaders to provide focus and direction to curriculum and teaching, as well as manage the organization efficiently to support student and adult learning (Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Sergiovanni, 2006). Leaders are required to know and understand curriculum, assessment, instruction, legal issues, personnel issues, professional development, and much more (Hoy & Miskel, 2009). No Child Left Behind (2002) is an Act of Congress that supports standards based education reform based on assessment, has added pressure to school leaders since funding is affected by the performance of the students on the state assessments. This directly relates to the leadership in the building and the role of the building principal.

Servant leadership is a leadership model that has been successfully applied in some business, religious, and education contexts (Greenleaf, 2002; Spears, 1995; Taylor, 2007; Wong & Davey, 2007). This framework ensures that “other people’s highest priority needs are being served” (Greenleaf, 2002, p.13). Servant leadership describes great leaders as those who serve first (Greenleaf, 2002; Spears, 1998). The servant leader’s principles, values, and beliefs are the motivational sources for the leader’s behavior (Greenleaf, 2002; Spears 1995). Due to the growing popularity of servant leadership, and the fact that it is recognized by organizations the world over in its timeless embrace, it is imperative to take steps to explore its meaning and to examine the effectiveness this leadership provides in schools.

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