Leadership | Feature

Principal of the Day

As the mission of higher education becomes more problematic, the role of K-12 institutions in helping students develop what we call 21st century skills becomes ever more important--as does the role of the school principal.

Robert Farrace of the National Association of Secondary School Principals says in the June/July issue of T.H.E. Journal that the No. 1 job of a principal is to model good behavior.

"The principal who models these behaviors is going to be able to inspire innovation in their school much more effectively than a principal who simply requires that teachers use technology, or collaborate, or take risks," Farrace says.

He happens to be talking about the traits of principals who have been highly effective in leading their schools toward greater and more efficient implementation of technology. But Farrace could have been talking about any number of issues and challenges that principals face today.

Certainly we here at T.H.E. Journal have an attitude on the subject we write so much about. We want to help our readers in their own implementation of technology. That's why we print features like "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Tech-leading Principals." But technology--or principals, for that matter--are only effective when they are "used" in service to students.

Which leads me to another reason why the role of the principal is so important. While you're in the June/July issue anyway, learning about the role school leaders play regarding technology, you might as well read Editorial Director Therese Mageau's thoughts in Our Space titled "The End of Liberal Arts Education?" Mageau points out that, even as the mission of higher education becomes more problematic, the role of K-12 institutions in helping students develop what we call 21st century skills--higher order thinking, problem solving, critical reading and reasoning, verbal and digital literacy--becomes ever more important.

And who do you think might be in the catbird seat when it comes to modeling that behavior? You got there before me: The principal.

About the Author

Michael Hart is the executive editor of THE Journal.

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