Masterminds of Collaboration

Kristen Craft • Principal Leadership Article

One of my eduheroes, Flip Flippen, taught me many years ago that, “No organization can rise above the constraints of its leadership.” Whether we are a part of a team, school, or district, the collective group will never rise above the limits or restrictions of its leader. This statement was powerful for me—I became intentional in learning my own constraints over the past decade. However, in my personal experience, it is not usually the norm for education leaders to be pushed to develop skills to identify and overcome the limitations of their leadership.

Recent research conducted by the Learning Policy Institute in collaboration with the National Association of Elementary School Principals found that “only 32% of elementary school principals regularly shared practices with peers; 23% had a mentor or coach in the past two years, and 56% participated in professional learning communities three or more times.” Instead, the growing demands of school leaders result in more meetings regarding school/district improvement plans, accreditations from the state, mandated testing, social-emotional learning, college and career readiness, and, for the past two years, COVID protocols. All of these issues are important, but we can’t let the lack of leadership development for principals and superintendents continue to be the norm.