Providing Leadership to Develop a Vibrant Faculty Culture
Everything rises and falls on leadership. Therefore, the board, head of school, director of academics and programs, director of advancement, division heads, and grade and subject chairs provide the leadership to develop a vibrant faculty culture as the most important initiative to improve student learning.
1. The Board needs to include in a strategic plan an emphasis on improved teaching and learning as the highest priority. This plan should be supported by a strategic financial plan to provide the funding to pay teachers competitively, recognize high performing teachers, retain exemplary leadership, create space and time for division heads to emphasize coaching and mentoring teachers as their highest priority, fund the director of academics and programs, free some time for grade and subject chairs, and fund professional development and renewal at about two percent of expenses. Each school needs a trend toward this provision that grows a little each year.
2. The head of school leads from the front making the development of a vibrant faculty culture the top priority of his office. S/he will not allow the press of urgent every day/quarter/semester/year activities and planning exercises to crowd out the most important priority of leading faculty that teach with collaborative energy whose classrooms pop.
3. The director of advancement could develop programs to endow the school to help it achieve the highest and best culture of learning if tuition does not fully support this direction within the limits of the strategic financial plan.
4. The director of academics and programs needs to be funded to provide the direct hands on leadership to develop and implement programs and school culture to support a vibrant faculty culture.
5. The division heads need to move from concentration on operations to development of vibrant teachers that develop vibrant classrooms full of extraordinarily good learning. This assumes each division head is fully capable and if not a transition would be needed over time. The division heads need to be able to nurture this kind of teaching to be successful.
6. The subject and grade chairs need to be developed to champion teaching and learning in their respective discipline and grade levels.