Leadership for School Improvement: Principals’ and Teachers Perspectives, 7(3)


  • Rosemary Foster
  • Brenda St. Hilaire


Increasingly, researchers are examining the role of leadership in implementing and sustaining school improvement. Even though scholarly and professional journals contain arguments that claim leadership is a critical factor in successful school improvement, there is a relative absence of research that documents the ways in which principals and teachers perceive leadership and understand its relationship to school improvement. The case study reported on here was part of a larger study that examined educators’ perspectives of leadership and school improvement. The general research question guiding this investigation was, How do principals and teachers in secondary schools involved in school improvement construct the concept and practice of leadership? To carry out this investigation, the authors adopted a constructivist leadership research orientation. The case study examined in this article was conducted within a secondary school that had been involved in a formal school improvement network over a 10-year period. Included here is an overview of the case study, and a discussion that draws on these key findings: (i) leading in school improvement is a responsibility shared by principals and teachers; (ii) varied sources of leadership, including teacher leadership, are required to improve schooling; (iii) involvement of external agencies in school improvement is problematic; and (iv) continuous professional development of educators is critical to sustaining school success. In concluding, we urge researchers, policy makers, and practitioners to consider ways in which emergent perspectives of school leadership might address issues related to the shortage of resources and expertise required to sustain school development and success.