Recruiting an educational leader who can become an effective principal in a new school is a challenging task. The educational leader who works in Wesgreen International School as the Head of the School can be discussed as a successful principal for Leaders of the Future School that is planned to be opened in 2018. The reason is that she shares the principles and values that are correlated with the mission and vision of the planned school. It is important to discuss the personal and professional characteristics of this leader, the aspects of the school project, and their connection with Leonard’s concepts in detail.
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Three characteristics of the discussed leader can be identified as important and demonstrating her suitability for the selected position of the principal in a new school. Firstly, she is focused on innovation in education as an approach to providing students with possibilities to develop all their skills and abilities, including intellectual, creative, and physical ones. Therefore, the Head of the School accentuates the importance of physical and extracurricular activities for children. Secondly, she is focused on flexibility as one of the most important characteristics of educators because they need to work with diverse students and adapt to situations depending on different types of environments. Thirdly, the Head of the School has developed cross-cultural skills and accentuates the importance of working in a multi-cultural society while addressing different cultures of students and connecting the past, present, and future in the culture of the UAE.
The project associated with establishing Leaders of the Future School has two main aspects or features to discuss. The project is oriented to creating a school that will address the needs and interests of diverse students in Nad Al Sheba while providing them with opportunities to integrate into the society based on the ideas of innovation and globalization. Therefore, the first key aspect of the project is its focus on innovation to address the requirements of the future society. Leaders of the Future School will provide students with the skills and knowledge required for a modern society with the help of using adapted curricula, technologies, and resources. The second key feature of this school is its focus on the “whole child development” when the physical, intellectual, creative, and social skills of children develop simultaneously. In this context, the focus is also on teaching children in the context of a multi-cultural society with reference to the values of the Western and Arab cultures.
The characteristics of the selected principal and key features of the school can be analyzed in the context of Leonard’s (2013) four concepts. The first important concept to consider is Leonard’s (2013) vision of innovation presented in Chapter 1 (pp. 3-4). The researcher views innovation as the promotion of new ideas and changes in organizations. The selected principal is focused on innovation to provide students with new opportunities and experiences, and the project is also based on the idea of innovation. Furthermore, in Chapter 4, Leonard (2013) introduces the cultural reform strategy (p. 92) and the concept of cultural cohesion in Chapter 6 (p. 137). These two concepts are closely connected with the previously discussed ideas as the Head of the School follows the principle of cultural cohesion in her practice, and the project is based on developing a new approach to promoting the cultural education in the UAE. The fourth important concept is sustainability presented by Leonard (2013) in Chapter 6 (p. 140). The project is aimed at creating an environment that will address the needs of students and expectations of educators and communities in the most efficient manner. Therefore, it is planned to be sustainable in nature.
Schools of the future require the focus on innovation. Entrepreneurial leaders in the sphere of education should address this aspect. The provided discussion of key features of the selected principal and the planned project demonstrates the connection between key points and Leonard’s concepts.
Leonard, J. (2013). Innovation in the schoolhouse: Entrepreneurial leadership in education. New York, NY: R&L Education.