ERIC Number: ED284350
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987
The Principal as White Knight.
Stanfield, Pamela C.; Walter, James E.
This 20-month study describes an elementary school principal, John Meyer, and examines his leadership behaviors. From an effective schools perspective, the principal is seen as the white knight who "saves" the children by providing an effective school. John Meyer is known as a "turnaround" principal who came to Garvin School (located in a Missouri school district that had once served a predominantly white population but whose racial composition began to change in 1967) and transformed it from the "armpit of the district" to a good school. When this educator arrived, low student achievement, nonexistent discipline, and poor staff morale were the norm. Realizing that tackling all problems at once would yield minimal results, Meyer approached instructional improvement in four phases: discipline, achievement, attitude, and personnel. The paper details Meyer's approach, based on high expectations, a "good feeling" atmosphere, and close supervision. Next Meyer's leadership techniques are discussed, especially his organizational and communication skills. Meyer's approach exemplifies T. J. Sergiovanni's model of leadership based on five forces: technical, human, substantive, symbolic, and cultural. In this model, which refutes the assumption that any person trained in good management and human relations can lead an organization, the first three forces are esssential for a competent organization, and the last two are necessary for excellence. The present study provides a large database for assessing and validating Sergiovanni's leadership model. (MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Washington, DC, April 20-24, 1987).