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ERIC Number: EJ1147466
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0032-0684
Collaborative Education Leadership in Times of Education Renewal: What Every New Teacher Should Know
Padilla, Frank E.
Planning and Changing, v40 n3-4 p207-223 2009
Teachers encounter countless obstacles to ensure their needs are met when represented by the traditional union-administration working relationship. Unions hold established opinions and ideas on school policy about matters in the public school arena. The tradition of unions and district officials keeping one another placated in an adversarial relationship is accepted and expected (Kerchner, Koppich, & Weeres, 1997, 1998). This article reports on a study of a successful leadership style that can be adapted and used by teachers and educational leaders in promoting positive school changes. Ellston (pseudonym), the main participant of the study, accepted the leadership of the union during a time of negotiation and bargaining of a new contract for teachers in the district. Her father was a teacher and a union representative; her mother was trained to be a teacher, as were two of her sisters. Her grandfather was an administrator and a member of the New York Teachers Guild. She taught elementary school for seventeen years while also assuming various roles within the union before becoming the president. On a national level, her greatest influence came from participating in the Leadership Reform Institute organized by Al Shanker, "one of the country's most influential voices on education reform, a leader for human and civil rights in the United States and abroad, and a relentless defender of democracy and freedom" (Shanker, 2002, p. 9). All of these influences helped define her role as leader, her sense of moral purpose and her view of the politics of education. By comparing the leadership exercised by Ellston to Fullan's (2001) leadership framework, a model can be proposed for emerging leaders within the teaching ranks and administrators. Fullan's framework is based on moral purpose in the workplace. The leadership style is characterized by the ability to sustain relationships while employing the framework of enthusiasm, energy and hope throughout the organization. Given the right environment as suggested by Fullan (2001), it is possible to foster the growth of a more dynamic and sustainable work environment between the power dynamics found between unions and district officials. The author has come to believe union leaders are particularly effective in illuminating the political world in which the average teacher exists. Leadership skills are necessary to implement reform efforts during difficult times experienced within public schools. National legislation has made this task more difficult for administrators and teachers alike. Union leadership by teachers fosters the view of committed educators who support student learning, while also appreciating the ways in which the system as a whole can either help or hinder its teachers and students. This paper will examine the core leadership skills as implemented by a union leader who has been successful in developing collaborative relationships with teachers and administrators alike. It will examine how she used moral purpose, relationship building, knowledge creation, and sharing as a basis for these changes. Her basic belief held while undertaking this challenge was that public schools should remain a place where democracy and educational equity thrive.
Department of Educational Administration and Foundations. College of Education, Illinois State University, Campus Box 5900, Normal, IL 61790-5900. Tel: 309-438-2399; Fax: 309-438-8683; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Mexico
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A