ERIC Number: ED491530
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Preparing the Next Generation of School Administrators: Advice from Veteran Leaders
Michael, Christine N.; Young, Nicholas D.
The purpose of this study was to systematically gather advice and insights from veteran school leaders on how to prepare and support the next generation of educational administrators through professional development and mentoring programs. Two hundred school administrators who were members of the American Association of School Administrators were randomly selected of an open-ended survey consisting of questions pertaining to the adequacy of professional preparation and the role of professional development and mentoring activities in promoting and sustaining sound leadership skills. Surveys returned by eighty veteran school administrators--principals, assistant superintendents or superintendents--who had a minimum of five years of educational leadership experience, were considered. This resulted in a high usable response rate of 0.40. Through the analysis of the in-depth open-ended responses using rigorous qualitative methodology, several common themes related to professional preparation emerged from this study: (1) coursework and field-based experiences that were designed to link theory with praxis were most valuable; (2) instructors who were themselves experienced practitioners appeared better able to connect text and course material with real world application; and (3) a limited foundation in the social sciences--psychology, political sciences, public relations, cultural diversity, conflict management and change management--appears to be missing from the school leadership curriculum. Study findings also suggest that the veteran respondents hold similar views on how best to support administrators once they join the profession: (4) through fostering networking opportunities with colleagues from across the region, state or country; (5) by encouraging the formation of mentoring relationships whenever possible; and (6) by promoting professional development opportunities, like study groups, that minimize time away from the job while maximizing time devoted to the specific applicable material. Collectively these results suggest that veteran school leaders have common views on how the next generation should be prepared and supported. Organizations and institutions of higher education should consider these findings when designing appropriate academic and professional development experiences for aspiring and veteran educational administrators alike.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A