Dr. Jarvis Sanford discusses the importance of leadership in education
Dr. Jarvis Sanford of Chicago is a leading educational consultant with over twenty years of experience in strategic planning, school management, and financial operations. Jarvis Sanford has also contributed to several publications and below explains why strong and effective educational leadership is so crucial.
Good teaching is about more than delivering consistent lessons. It is a process to guide and direct students towards their goals and directly influence their outcomes. However, teachers need clear leadership to help their students successfully. Without clear leadership, no school can provide quality education.
Chicago’s Dr. Sanford explains that instructional leadership should be based on individual and school-wide professional expertise that helps students grow, progress, and achieve better results. It sets a standard for future achievement and helps educators better execute their benchmarks. Working from the top down, administrators help guide teachers who then help guide their students into the future.
Strong instructional leadership is not always obvious, but its effects are transparent. In five simple steps, educators and administrators can benefit the entire education system, creating incredible results.
What does strong educational leadership look like?
Effective leadership, regardless of industry, occurs when qualified professionals share their experience and knowledge to better their employees and colleagues. Dr. Jarvis Sanford explains that for educators, this means staying up to date on all the latest learning methods, teaching technologies and educational trends. Yet communication is at the heart of good leadership.
Strong educational leaders communicate clearly. Whether it’s an administrator giving feedback to improve the quality of learning or a teacher guiding students on the right path, leadership begins with communication. Dr. Sanford believes that when everyone is on the same page, it fosters a motivating and positive environment in which everyone can learn.
Skills that benefit education leaders
Dr. Jarvis Sanford notes that these five skills set strong leaders apart. Implement them in your school and see the difference:
- Strong leaders encourage others to learn – Successful instructional leaders lead the way in how teachers can implement new methods and organizations with a focus on continuous professional development. When teachers are encouraged to continue learning, this trickles down to students as they apply new technologies and methods.
- Strong leaders never stop learning – Leadership is not a static skill. It takes constant practice and learning to master. Good educational leaders take time to gain new experiences inside and outside the classroom. Administrators can explore new teaching technologies and teachers can learn better ways to deliver lessons.
- Strong leaders drive growth – Education is constantly evolving towards new and better techniques. Strong educational leaders help their schools grow by eliminating inefficient technologies and investing in the latest and greatest teaching methods.
- Strong leaders align school management policies – No school can operate effectively without streamlined management and data collection. Dr. Jarvis Sanford notes that teachers need adequate technology to help collect and collate student grades. Likewise, administrators need strong management policies to guide the direction of the school. Focused educational leadership meets these needs and benefits everyone involved.
- Strong leaders bring schools and community together – There is some truth in the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child. The same goes for schools. Strong instructional leadership unites parents and teachers to effectively guide student progress and growth.
How Educational Leadership Helps Today
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly been the most challenging time to be an educator in recent decades. Dr. Jarvis Sanford of Chicago reports that teachers around the world have had to adapt to sudden closures, teacher shortages, and the universally despised online classroom. Yet strong educational leadership turned a setback into an opportunity to improve, grow, and learn.
Three years ago, no one could have imagined how easily digital learning fits into standard classrooms. Yet administrators and teachers have jumped wholeheartedly on board with Zoom, Google Classroom, and a handful of other online learning support systems.
Without clear and strong pedagogical leadership, none of this would have been possible. It is only through the dedicated and united efforts of teachers and administrators that students have been able to continue their learning, even when forced to stay home.
Improve instructional leadership skills
If you are a teacher or administrator who wants to excel in leadership, there are many resources available that you can tap into. Dr. Jarvis Sanford advises talking with your colleagues or HR team and setting up a meeting to discuss career training opportunities.
Additionally, earning a master’s degree in education, of course, will help clarify and enhance your leadership prowess. Although it takes time, it helps you get better opportunities throughout your career, along with the added benefit of earning a higher salary.
Strong and effective educational leadership is more important today than ever, says Dr. Jarvis Sanford of Chicago. As schools continue to grapple with the ever-changing landscape of education, teachers and administrators can only hope to grow if they dedicate themselves to lifelong learning, clear communication, and helping each other to become better, more efficient professionals.