May 10, 2016 // Blog // Improving Instruction

Unknown Waters

Sonja Howard, Principal Certification Program Coordinator
Unknown Waters Image


Leading Change. This was the topic of one of our recent principal program seminars. One intern put it so poignantly when he openly reflected: 

“You really are in the midst of going somewhere you’ve never been.”  

He went on to entertain and bask in the thought of accomplishing something that hadn’t been accomplished before.

It was exciting to hear an aspiring leader fascinated by what could be, when change is often viewed from a different perspective. What an interesting perspective, yet, a very necessary one if we as leaders want to effectively lead change and accomplish the teacher and student outcomes we set out for in our schools.

In fact, here in Texas, the new, research based Texas Principal Evaluation and Support System (T-PESS), is based on 21 leadership responsibilities, one of them being "change agent".  

Being a “change agent” is defined by one's willingness to pursue, and actively challenge, the status quo.  

That requires a healthy appetite for continuous improvement.  

Further, our state's principal competencies task school leaders with “managing change effectively by engaging staff and community in the change process in such a way that ensures their support of the change and its successful implementation.”

Leading change is a complex process that requires careful consideration and planning.  No longer is "change" something we can view as being imposed upon us. Now it must be something we are intentionally and purposefully seeking if we want to go where we’ve never gone before- with both teaching and learning for greater student outcomes.

What kinds of change are you leading in your school right now?

How have you planned for a successful outcome?

What perspective are you exhibiting for others?

What skills are you utilizing? 

How are you supporting your staff through the transitions?

Check out some of my go-to resources on change:

Balanced Leadership for Powerful Learning, Tools for Achieving Success in Your School

Leading Change

McRel's Balanced Leadership Framework

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About the author: Sonja Howard helps coordinate statewide leadership efforts at Region 13 Education Service Center, and teaches aspiring administrators about change and the many other responsibilities of leadership in her role as coordinator of the principal certification program at the center.  

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