The role of a school principal is an extremely challenging one. Principals are required to be educators, business managers, strategic planners, counsellors and most importantly, leaders. While there are professional development opportunities and short courses available for aspiring principals, many principals work their way up to the role without receiving any formal training in the specific skills required to successfully lead a school and its community.
Neil Barker argues in Ecosystem leadership: an approach for schools that in order to improve school leadership and subsequent student outcomes, principals and leadership teams need to better understand how to lead together; to be intentional about the school’s leadership and to methodically and deliberately develop a collective leadership approach.
Based on the organic and interconnected ecosystems found throughout the natural world, Ecosystem leadership provides practical, hands-on activities and templates to assist school leaders in developing collective leadership skills and practices. The book sets out 5 key leadership elements for school leaders to address: context, vision, processes, focuses and impact.
Ecosystem leadership provides a collaborative, self-improving approach to leadership that is systematic, integrated and comprehensive. It describes a system of leadership that is fit for purpose, based on a school’s unique context, and always with improving student outcomes at the forefront.
Neil Barker is the former director of the Bastow Institute of Educational
Leadership. He has more than 40 years’ experience in the education
sector, working in juvenile justice settings, specialist and primary
schools, at the Melbourne Zoo, as a school principal and in education
Neil is currently the co-founder and director of LERNA Digital
Learning and is involved in several international education networks.
He is also a fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders.