Edutopia, always great, has a piece this month by Rebecca Alber called how to give your school leader a grade.   As someone who tries my hardest to practice leadership by backward design and keeping the end in mind, and someone who says that what gets measured gets done,  it is only fair that I do the same.    Here is her list on the criteria by which to evaluate your school leader.

1. Making connections. —  Alber puts this first, and explains that it means that the principal genuinely values, and enjoys, visiting classrooms.    It is about rolling up sleeves and working side by side.  It is about being a teacher’s principal and being a kid’s principal.   It is about showing you really care about everything that happens and everyone who participates in the work of teaching kids.    I too think it is essential, and I would add that it is about understanding the challenges of teaching and seeking to understand the particular goals and concerns and values of each individual teacher; it is about taking the student side and looking at learning from the point of view of kids.

2. Clear, Comprehensible Goals.  For Alber, the principal’s  “fundamental philosophy and beliefs about educating children stay the same, and are transparent to all…Her academic goals for the school in general are crystal clear to other administrators, and to teachers, students, and parents.”  Funny you are reading this on my blog, because in part it is my goal to use this blog to be as transparent as possible, to make as clear as I can my goals– that we be a school that works, in Tony Wagner’s words, to close the global achievement gap, to be a school where students are motivated and challenged and supported to acquire the habits of minds and to master the skills necessary in this new century, and to be a school where students learn by doing, by being genuinely engaged in the work of their own learning.

3.  A Colleague, not a Politician. Alber:  “She listens, and makes eye contact with, and is fair, with the faculty, treating all evenhandedly. Her actions demonstrate that she views teachers and other staff as colleagues. She’s a work-with-me professional rather than a work-for-me type.”

4. Fair is Fair. Integrity is essential, and and I appreciate that Alber believes that fairness comes from listening, from gathering information first, by really trying to see things from different points of view.  Always a goal of mine.

5.  An Instructional Captain. For Alber, it is about knowing your stuff, being current in educational research, it is about building trust by demonstrating expertise in a way not showy, but by modeling it.    This is a place I am really trying to grow toward, and it is my greatest goal.

So there is a rubric for evaluating the effective school leader.  Any readers here at St. Gregory care to give me a formative assessment report on how I am doing?