Clique“Ain’t nobody fresher than my Clique…”

Whenever I think of school leadership teams (LTs), I think of the Kanye West assisted Big Sean song, Clique.


Because the school leadership team ought to be planned for, assembled, and carry out their duties with the same kind of energy, unified purpose, and swagger with which ‘Ye, Jay, and Sean hold down the fort on Clique.

In order to make that happen, the Principal, Assistant Principal(s), and Instructional Coach(es) should first decide what duties, responsibilities, and expectations for performance they desire for their leadership team members to possess. Codify that work. If leadership team members are to meet twice a month, write that down. If leadership team members are expected to bring solutions to the table, accept responsibility for their respective grade-levels, content areas, or specific programs, write that down too.  If leadership team members are expected to sell the team’s plans for unpopular, but potentially effective, school improvement efforts, make that a part of the job description. When writing the job description/expectations for performance for the leadership team, I like to drive that work with a few guiding questions. Here are a few of those questions.

  1. How often will the team meet and at what time will the team meet?
  2. Do we need representation from each grade-level and content area?
  3. What skill sets do we need represented on the team (communication, data analysis, family & community engagement, event planning, etc.)?
  4. Are there standing agenda items that will be covered at every meeting (academics, discipline, attendance, etc.)? What are they? Why are we covering these items? Who is responsible for reporting out on each of these items?
  5. What roles must be represented on the team (time-keeper, secretary, treasurer, etc.)?
  6. Will you have a diversity of thought and personality on your team? Don’t sleep on this one…you want people who think differently than you do since so much of the LTs work is both strategic (long-term) and tactical (short-term). The work of an effective LT is like the ultimate posse cut. You want the work to be more Scenario than Grillz.
  7. What do you expect your leadership team to DO?

The last question might seem both obvious and simple, but if you don’t have a WRITTEN mission/vision, statement of goals, or pre-defined set of expected outcomes for your LT then this possibly productive assemblage of educators can quickly turn into an acquiescent caucus who simply act as an information funnel between the administration and their respective grade-level or content-area teams.

Once the administrative team comes to a consensus about the LT expectations, it’s time to go solicit membership. The admin team members may have a good idea about which teachers they want on the team, but it’s always a good idea to create a fair and inclusive selection process for the team so that the LT is made up of people who actually WANT to do the WORK required to drive the school improvement process in your building. That selection process can include an interview, writing samples, etc.

Once assembled, the LT should be introduced to the faculty AND their roles and responsibilities should be explained. Think of it as a coming out party of sorts. After that? It’s time to get to work. What work? The work of solving schools’ problems related to achievement, attendance, discipline, and family & community engagement.

What are your leadership teams like? Do you serve on one? Do you have pre-defined roles and responsibilities ? Do you find your involvement to be beneficial to the students and school? If so, how so? If not, why not? I’ll share my personal experiences with good, bad, and ugly leadership teams in a future post.

However, if you want to know more about how to create and manage effective leadership teams at your school, then I recommend Leverage Leadership by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo. I’m working my way through this book now and it contains some great information about school improvement and leadership teams.

As always, thanks for reading, pardon the typos, and the comments section is always open.

School Improvement: Leadership Teams

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