Activity 3: Developing Local School Leaders

Activity Guide

Great school leaders contribute to and support school success by cultivating effective and knowledgeable school leaders. Schools are successful when all school stakeholders share a common vision and work collaboratively. What better way to “develop self and others” (for more information see NASSP 10 Skills for Successful School Leaders, chapter 7, pp. 106-127) than to engage yourself in a professional development activity that also develops the leadership capacity of others at your school—a win-win!



  1. Improve your own leadership skills by engaging in a professional development activity that also increases the leadership capacity of others at your school. Set aside time to read, view, and listen to the leadership resources from the list above. Focus and reflect on the information and techniques to work closely with an assistant principal or teacher leader in completing a school project that will build leadership capacity and improve both your practice and student outcomes at your school.
  2. Design your professional development plan:
    • Identify one or two assistant principal(s) or teacher leader(s) whose administrative potential and professional practice you have observed.
    • List and affirm their professional strengths and achievements at your school.
    • Consider school data, school improvement needs, and professional strengths to identify one or more projects that could be successfully planned and implemented by your school leader.
  3. Plan an individual meeting with each assistant principal or teacher leader and discuss an opportunity to increase his or her leadership capacity by planning and implementing a school improvement project. Discuss the following with your leader:
    • The school vision and how his or her professional goals, knowledge, and skills can support its implementation.
    • How his or her skills have contributed to the school and improved student outcomes.
    • Which school experiences may develop leadership skills for advancement.
    • Reasonable time commitments to undertake a special project and attend steering committee or administrative meetings for project updates and professional networking.
    • Additional time commitments for providing support and professional feedback, and building collegial networks.
  4. Reach consensus on implementing a school-based project that will build on his or her knowledge and administrative skills as well as improve student outcomes at your school.
  5. Request an implementation plan draft. Use the Discussion Guide Planning Templates for successful initiative planning.
  6. Schedule a meeting to establish measurable success goals and monitoring procedures for the project. Continue to schedule regular meetings for feedback and project monitoring. Identify what local school data will confirm project success.
  7. Schedule updates for faculty meetings and administrative team meetings.

Extend and Apply

Now that you have led a small group of school leaders through a successful program implementation, ask all members of your leadership team what they would most like to improve about their professional practice or learn about the principalship, and/or ask teacher leaders what professional practices they would most like to improve. Challenge a group of staff to jointly plan a whole-school growth initiative using the Discussion Guide Planning Templates. Provide opportunities for effective feedback, develop measurable objectives using local school data, and monitor program implementation following the process steps above.