So Where Can I Find Great Leaders?

So Where Can I Find Great Leaders?
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Every year around September a wave of excitement and anticipation fills the living rooms and faculty lounges of international schools as schools around the world begin to post their recruitment needs for the following year.  To any experienced international teacher or administrator it’s an accepted lifestyle choice that you’ll see your closest friends come and go as they move onto new and hopefully better jobs.

This last year my wife and I “tested the waters” to see if this was the year to leave and we were sucked into the black hole of resumes and recruitment fairs.  I found myself immersed in conversations with other teachers discussing what schools had posted their job listings.  What I found interesting is how in the midst of these conversations, myself and others would make a snap judgement of the quality of a school.  For example “Did you see blank school is looking for a new blank teacher?”  “Oh that’s a great school–they pay their teachers really well.”  Or  “that’s a great school because they are building a brand new campus.”  Of course the judgement cuts the other way too as I’ve heard people say “it seems like a good school, but…well their 1:1 program is PC based…so that’s a problem.”

The truth, it seems, that except for the most competitive teaching candidates many of us are attracted to a school because they either are interested in us, pay well or have a nice website (come on you know you’ve done it).  What does this say about the current recruitment climate when teachers sign contracts at schools not because there is a great match, but because it was the best match either party could find at a time-limited recruitment fair?

How do we know where the great schools and great school leaders and teachers are in the world?  Do we need to simply look for the nicest buildings, the highest salaries or oldest schools.  I often hear international colleagues mention different schools as great without any proof.  International School Bangkok, Singapore American School, Concordia Shanghai, International School Beijing, Seoul Foreign, Hong Kong International School and many other large schools, yet I’m not certain what has made these schools great.  Do they have great leaders that turn them into great schools?  Are they great schools that can dish out the money for great leaders?  Or are they just in a market flooded with cash, but lack substance?

What do you think?  What makes a great school?  Top 3 indicators?

If you work at one of the schools or any school that has great leaders please comment and tell me where you are, who they are and why they are great so we can investigate.

Author: Andy Aldrich

Andy is a founder of Learn[ed]Leadership as well as a school administrator at Punahou School in Honolulu, HI. In addition to pontificating on ideas in education, Andy stays busy chasing after his daughter and impressing his wife with his big muscles.

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