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Assignment 1: Case Study

By Courtney L. Teague EDD 9100-OL2_34211 Educational Leadership Seminar

Nova Southeastern University February 2, 2013

2 The following case study describes a leadership struggle faced by Laurie Anderson who is the principal at a Title I middle school. As you read the case notice the style of leadership demonstrated in the case. At the end of the case there are questions to help you analyze Laurie Andersons style of leadership and identify struggles in this situation.

Lay off me, Laurie Laurie Anderson is the principal of XYZ school, a low-income urban school nestled in the outskirts of a large metropolitan city. Laurie Anderson was introduced to the school as an assistant principal. The former principal was dismissed due to sexual harassment charges and misappropriation of funds. Laurie Anderson was very quiet as former role of being an assistant principal in an urban school. Urban schools were very foreign and new to her. She was known to walk around the school building with a clipboard and a walkie talkie. However, when she became the principal she implemented new policies and procedures within the school. She no longer walked around with a clipboard but with an iPad an upgraded clipboard filled with note-taking apps. That was the beginning of her change throughout the school. She acquired the administration staff from the former principal. The assistant principal Kelly Hector was loyal to the former principal and she was not welcoming to the new principal. During the first month of the school year, Laurie designed and implemented a new mission and vision for the staff and students. She shared her new vision with the staff and administration at the team meeting in which she was the only one speaking. She mentioned teamwork throughout her speech, however I was referenced more times than

3 team. In order for a leader to implement a vision, the leader needs to lead by example (Northhouse, 2012, p. 121). Along with a new mission and vision for the staff and students, Laurie implemented a new lesson plan program. She selected and implemented a lesson plan software template without the input of teachers. Teachers were not welcoming to the lesson plan software. Many teachers looked at the software as another micromanagement tool to allow big sister to watch over you. She began to leave comments for the teachers, many comments included telling them the improvements they should make and possible training they may need. Many teachers did not agree with the negative commentary. As a result, the teachers stopped going the extra mile in the classroom and taught the basic skills required. Teachers lost motivation because she often judged their ability by their lesson plan and not the lesson plan implementation. Teachers recognition consists of monthly peer observations. If a peer selects a teacher, the teacher will be considered teacher of the month. Teachers of the month (even teachers with diabetes) not only received a parking space but a chocolate candy bar in their honor. She believed in open communication. She often shared what was going on at XYZ school. She created an annual Whats Right in Our School newsletter, which highlights student, staff, school, and community achievement. Last year, in rebuttal someone created a Whats Wrong in Our School newsletter, which was indicative of mediocre employee morale. The first wrong was her leadership style, the second wrong was her lack of authentic social skills. She had the email retracted and investigated the origin of the email.

4 Many teachers stay late after school daily to prepare for the next day and they are often unnoticed by the administration. However when they were to occasionally run late in the mornings due to traffic but only to rush into the mailbox room to see a tardy slip. To aid in the budget reduction she assigned roles and tasks to staff. Just when staff thought she was delegating tasks and trusting their leadership abilities, she followed up with an email that states, I have found a model I want you to follow. One of her staff members describes her this way: Laurie is a hands on dictator. Laurie is oblivious to her detrimental impact of implementing her vision on the staff.

Questions 1. After reading the case, how did you feel? If you could ask Laurie two questions about her leadership style, what would you ask? If you could give Laurie leadership advice, what would it be? 2. What mental images appeared when you read the case study? 3. Do you think the vision was a shared vision? Why or Why not? 4. What other styles of leadership did Laurie share with the staff?

5 Reference Northouse, P. G. (2012). Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage.