Director of Education John Malloy: The Importance of Leadership Development at HWDSB
We know that leaders make a difference. An effective leader is collaborative, passionate and able to communicate with a diversity of people on a variety of issues. A leader seeks to inspire others in their own leadership journey. At Hamilton-Wentworth School Board, we are building leadership capacity at all levels of the system, whether in our schools or in our service departments.
We are focused on our mission to improve student achievement. Effective leaders help build and sustain effective schools, which can achieve their goals. The research is clear on the importance of developing and maintaining a team of exemplary school leaders. Leithwood et al. (2006) after a review of the current literature, set out seven strong claims about successful school leadership:
- School leadership is second only to classroom teaching as an influence on pupil learning
- Almost all successful leaders draw on the same repertoire of basic leadership practices
- The ways in which leaders apply these basic leadership practices – not the practices themselves – demonstrate responsiveness to, rather than dictation by, the contexts in which they work
- School leaders improve teaching and learning indirectly and most powerfully through their influence on staff motivation, commitment and working conditions
- School leadership has a greater influence on schools and student when it is widely distributed
- Some patterns of distribution are more effective than others
- A small handful of personal traits explain a high proportion of the variation in leadership effectiveness
The programs and processes described in The Path to Leadership website are designed to meet the needs of potential and current leaders at each stage in their leadership development. The practices and competencies that inform leadership programming and processes are based on the Ontario Leadership Framework, which is designed to:
- Inspire a shared vision of leadership in schools and boards
- Promote a common language that fosters an understanding of leadership and what it means to be a school and system leader
- Identify the practices and competencies that describe effective leadership
- Guide the design and implementation of professional learning and development for school and system leaders.
I hope that this resource proves useful and inspiring as you continue your journey in leadership here at HWDSB.
Director of Education