“Leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals.” –Author unknown

In our own attempts to be good leaders, that special quality of good leadership can be elusive and difficult to define. However, we each have experienced the effects of leaders that exemplify excellent leadership, and we know it when we see it. The best of leaders brings out the best in us.

From our own observations as educators, we would all agree that a good school leader can have a significant impact on student achievement. Research supports this observation. Marzano et al. (2005, p.12) reported from their meta-analysis of 35 years’ worth of research, that “…school leadership has a substantial effect on student achievement…”

In a way, we are all leaders despite our job title. We could all benefit from learning how to improve in our leadership roles. Briefly, let’s review a few points on effective leadership by first commenting on what Leadership means in the context of the implementation of RTI2-A + RTI2-B, and then follow with leadership characteristics that can help to support positive change in school systems.

In the implementation of RTI2-A + RTI2-B, Leadership refers to the management of infrastructures needed to align and support RTI2-A + RTI2-B implementation. As change agents, leaders can influence critical implementation of infrastructures that are necessary for systems level implementation preparation. These infrastructures would include things like scheduling time for interventions and time for school teams to meet. School and district leaders would also ensure that policies and procedures align with changes in their system to support effective systems change. Additionally, good school leaders would provide the professional development necessary for success in the implementation of RTI2-A + RTI2-B to lay the foundation for change.

There are many characteristics that determine good leadership. Here are just two characteristics of a good leader that can support systems change: 1) having the knowledge of education and learning, and 2) the ability to foster collaborative leadership among the staff. By having the knowledge, leaders will have the ability to make decisions that impact every aspect of education. Learning and gaining knowledge about the educational system is essential. In terms of developing collaborative leadership among the staff, Hall & Hord (2015, p. 171) describe an effective leader as being more of the “guide on the side” rather than the “sage on the stage”. These types of leaders bring out the leader in all of us.

Both district and school leaders can have a powerful impact on staff and students by creating a time and place for teaming, by aligning policies and procedures with RTI2-A + RTI2-B implementation and by fostering two-way communication between school staff and all key collaborators. Good school leaders develop and demonstrate the knowledge and expertise of education while also creating a collaborative relationship with staff.

As educators, we often share success stories with one another and learn about students who have overcome adversities and have grown into their potential. These experiences are heartwarming and uplifting. It can often be difficult when we try to reach all students and wonder about our impact as educators and leaders, but as Mother Theresa hopefully stated, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.”

Works Cited

Hall & Hord, (2015). Implementing Change: Patterns, Principles, and Potholes. Las Vegas, NV: Pearson.

Marzano, R.J., Waters, T., & McNulty. (2005). School Leadership That Works: From Research to Results. Alexandria, VA:  ASCD.