What will the next generation of educational leaders look like? While we may not be able to accurately paint a portrait of these leaders, we can identify a number of characteristics that will be vital for future educational leaders, i.e. superintendents, heads of school, deans, division heads, department heads, to possess and embody in order to lead their stakeholders successfully through the uncertain years ahead. The next generation of leaders must succeed where the last generation has fallen short if faculty and students are to surpass the quality of the last generation. Here we’ll look at three of the most significant qualities the next generation of educational leaders must possess.
First and foremost, the next generation of educational leaders must understand the changing face of the world. Today’s world has become smaller and flatter than the world even five or ten years ago. Leaders in education must prepare students to enter a world that will be even smaller and flatter than it is today. Furthermore, leaders must strategically and intentionally prepare students to not only exist but also to thrive in a world in which globalization seems to be taking place at an exponential rate. This means students must be more technologically savvy than any students before them. This also means that students must be more cognizant of the global cultures which, whether in person or via data streams, inevitably will impact their success in higher education and in the business world.
Second, the next generation of educational leaders must be visionary risk takers. Certainly there are tried and true methods of teaching and assessment that will remain pillars of great educational practice. However, judging by the current state of education in the United States, the most recent generation of best practices has missed the mark. Therefore, educational leaders must look into a future we can’t yet predict and formulate a vision for what well-educated and thoroughly-prepared students must look like five, ten or perhaps fifteen years from now. Furthermore, educational leaders must be truly innovative and take calculated risks on strategies to improve teachers and to prepare students to be at the cutting edge of the workforce and the intellectual elite of an increasingly globalized world.
Third, the next generation of educational leaders must be great managers of human resources. Students will never improve and student performance and preparedness will never improve until those teaching them improve and teachers will become only as great as their leaders help them to become. Educational leaders must find ways to improve the knowledge and skills of their teachers, retain the best teachers, identify and train future leaders, provide satisfactory compensation and safe and rewarding work environments. Furthermore, educational leaders must continuously, to borrow a phrase from Jim Collins, make sure that the right people are on the bus and that they the people on the bus are in the right seats.
While no solutions or strategies have been offered up here and now, this initial post serves only to raise concerns and present some possible points for future discussion or debate. The purpose of this blog in the coming weeks and months will be to address the concerns listed above, to offer strategies to make educational leaders better, to offer strategies to make educational personnel better and to provide a forum for discussion or debate relative to these topics.
What does the next generation of educational leaders look like?