Topic: Leadership Issues
The following post appeared today on Scott McLeod's Dangerously Irrelevant blog. I was just going to link to it and then thought it would be a good idea to repost it here and ask folks for advice for the principal. Here's the post (questions follow).
I lost one of my principals in our Principal Blogging Project today. I'm not very happy about it. You see, it's your fault.
She was a fabulous blogger. She used her blog to share great things that were happening in her school. She uploaded photos and graphics to create student and parent interest. She hyperlinked to helpful resources. She was a master at using her blog to enhance communication with parents and build school community. Parents and students loved it. She was even featured in the newspaper for her blogging efforts.
But then you came to the district. Its new superintendent. The person who is supposed to lead the way. And you shut her down. Why? Because of a few negative parent comments on a few blog posts.
You had the chance to do the right thing. You had the chance to hear your principal tell you about the power of this new communication medium. You had the chance to find out that every major corporation is blogging and that there are numerous reasons why administrators should blog. You had the chance to learn about the technology and the fact that individual commenters could be blocked or that comments could be turned off altogether. Sure, some interactivity would be disabled. Sure, some of the power of blogging would be lost. But at least the principal's voice could have been preserved.
But you didn't. Instead you had a knee-jerk reaction and shut her down. Closed her off. Relegated her to the inefficiencies of a listserv and a paper newsletter.
The irony is that you say on your district web page that you embrace change. That you value the input of parents and the local community. That you always want to do what's best for kids. How do you reconcile shutting down your cutting-edge principal's use of modern communication tools with your so-called values?
Shame on you. You're supposed to be modeling effective leadership. You're supposed to be facilitating your building-level leaders' use of 21st century technologies so that teachers and students will be more likely to use them. You're supposed to be the penultimate "lifelong learner" in your organization. As someone who prepares superintendents, I am not impressed.
Congratulations. You've moved your school system one step closer to the 19th century. I'm sure your parents and community will thank you for it. May your reign be short.
What should the principal do now? Can you share a strategy that might get the new superintendent to reconsider? What would you do? Is this a hill to die on? (Why or why not?)
If you have a response to one or more of these questions, please post as a comment.