Thursday, October 22, 2009

How I Passed the Florida Educational Leaders Examination!!!

Educational Leadership is a Degree that is worthwhile and useful in many different fields from education to performing. There are so many facets to leadership that it is truly a happy moment when you see the word "PASS" written on your FELE exam. I will never forget the feeling of joy and relief that I had passed that 6 and 1/2 hour exam on finance, law, data analysis and everything else we have studied for two years. The training for a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership is certainly thorough and the professors at USF are the best in the world. I say that after having studied in three different countries. When I studied in England I was very impressed with their University System, however I must say that the University of South Florida is truly a leader in research and innovation. Demonstrated on my FELE, which I just recently passed; I had to demonstrate and show fluency in data analysis, statistics,,%20finance/, law, organization, Leadership theories. Wow, extensive. It certainly is and that is why it is soo hard to get that('s_degree . I would like to use this site to help others in educational leadership or leadership in general to better understand what makes a successful organization. The first thing I notice when I walk in a classroom, an office or any large organization is whether the people are happy. My philosophy of leadership is that you lead others to happiness by helping them become Self-actualization‎human beings as directed by Maslow's hierarchy of needs . I am thankful for the year I studied Professional counseling at Liberty University Online as it helped me get a handle on all the different psychological theories and to better understand the way we grow up and how we learn, however it did cost me $20,000.00 in student loans. I definitely feel smarter, but I am not sure the one year was worth $20,000.00.

Leadership Platform
What is leadership for?

"Most current leadership is based on a theory of motivation that has overplayed the importance of self-interest, personal pleasure, and individual choice as the driving forces for what we do. Underplayed are the more altruistic reasons for doing things and the extent to which we identify with and are influenced by membership groups (such as church, ethnic groups, the teaching profession, school, social networks, neighborhood, and nation). The consequence has been a practice that underestimates the complexity of human nature and the capacity of people to be motivated for reasons other than self-interest." (Rethinking Leadership: A Collection of Articlesby Thomas J Sergiovanni, Carl Glickman - 2006 - 200 -

Similarly, as I reflect on these concepts, I feel life flowing through me as I recall this exact experience beginning to happen to me as I learn to be a Servant Leadership. Leadership is essentially to lead others to findFulfillment in life. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needsdemonstrates the highest level as being self-actualized. I believe if we are leading people then we should be leading them in the direction of Self-actualization‎as Maslow points out.

What is the purpose of education?

A good school is almost a felt experience for each person that enters the building knows whether there is something relevant and worthwhile going on, or whether there is a lack of organization, or a question about safety or time management. Sergiovanni views leadership as a moral craft and frames leadership in a new way for us. "Culture building and practicing the art of purposing are the essentials of symbolic and cultural leadership forces(Sergiovanni, 2007, p.11) A good school exemplifies purpose and transmits a feeling of community. This community could also be viewed as a culture in the “good school. “
Owens and Valesky purport, “Thus, culture develops over a period of time and, in the process of developing, acquires significantly deep meaning. Therefore, culture can be defined as the shared philosophies, ideologies, values, assumption, beliefs, expectations, attitudes, and norms that knit a community together. (Owens, R. and Valesky, T., 2007, p. 194)
The “norms” as Owens states it, are “norms” as simple as the way a student walks in the school, which creates a certain “atmosphere.” This “walk” may be viewed as a ‘simple walk’ or it may express meaning such as “I’m eager to learn!” or “This place is a dump and a waste of my time.” Perhaps, more important in a good school is the way the teacher speaks to the students, her tone of voice, her choice of vocabulary, and her response or lack of response. Finally, in a good school the servant leaders treat the teachers as Professionalsand the conversation that you may overhear in “a good school;” would be rich discussions between Leadership and teachers, where concepts of lesson units and breakthroughs with student work are being discussed. Fortunately, I am doing my practicum at “a good school,” actually it is not a good school it is a great school and if you ask me how I know that it is a good school, the simple most honest answer is because it is a felt experience. There is a vibrant atmosphere, a close community of people together for the with a passion for excellence that is shared between the administration, the teachers, the students and the maintenance workers.
4. Why should people follow you?
5. I believe that others will follow me because my goals will be to help them fulfill their potential as teachers, students and creative, caring community members. My value or model of perfect leadership is a Sergiovanni defines it as “Servant Leadership.” Leadership for me is “servant leadership” which is recommended by Sergiovanni. The idea of servant leadership is that you are there to serve others and help them attain their goals. This means the administrator is offering help to the teachers and they have shared goals. These goals are that each student learns, achieves and reaches their full potential, and even more exciting than this is that each teacher teaches to their potential and this is what makes the energy vibrant. I believe the problem in so many schools is mediocrity. Risk-Taking and complete commitment to your community are the investments that a leader must make to their community if they are going to gain momentum and achieve greatness. Sergiovanni quotes James Quinn - Financial Sense Editorial Archives"The role of the leader, then, is one of orchestrator and labeler: taking what can be gotten in the way of action and shaping it --generally after the fact—into lasting commitment and to a new strategic direction. In short, he makes meanings." (Quinn,J.(1981) in (Sergiovanni, Thomas ,p13) As a musician, I enjoy the website and this metaphor as I feel its effects as I learn to play the different instruments of the school, such as the teachers in the visual arts and connecting them with the technology teacher. The music just comes to life as this week I had a School of Visual Artsteacher ask one of their most talented artists to sketch an architectural drawing of a dancer; then to have the NYC ARTS teacher make a flyer that I would then facilitate to work with the technology teacher and ask to be taught how to post this on the Webpage Templates. This involvement with the three departments is connecting the talented people in the community together. To emphasize my personal Philosophy of Education for my paper, these are my values of what I think a great leader is and does. I am writing this is response to what are the attributes of a great leader. My answer is a great leader serves, help, encourages, motivates(please see my paper on Herzberg's motivation theory!!!!) and supports. I feel like I am the teacher’s servant and I feel so excited to go to work and continue thinking of new ways to help them achieve new goals. Perhaps, it wasn’t clear in my last paper what standard I was addressing, however, I am trying to live the role that Sergiovanni suggests and I find the the collaboration and dialogue between us, me the leader and they the teachers is fruitful and has a relevant, refreshing exciting quality to it . I know that I am enabling wonderful things to happen that could only come about from my willingness to serve the teachers. I am quite confident with my beliefs as I feel sure of my research based on Sergiovanni. These are truly the philosophies and traits that produce excellence in a leader. Sergiovanni, states this as 'The art of the creative leader is the art of institution building, the reworking of human and technological materials to fashion an organism that embodies new and enduring values... ...The institutional leader; then, is primarily an expert in the promotion and protection of values. (Sergiovanni, (2007, p. 13). What I find exciting about leadership is the vision and mission communication, but the fuel behind this vision is the tool of motivation. Sergiovanni finds that the research on self satisfaction with work is proving not to be self-interested, but rather the focus or role the individual plays within the group. I believe this answers the question to what are the traits and qualities of a good leader and what is a good leader? Sergiovanni’s philosophy of servant leadership is one in which the leader becomes less interested in themselves and more interested in the others(teachers/students). This is the first time, other than singing that I have ever felt so fulfilled. I actually look forward to going back to meet with my colleagues and to getting the tasks done for them to see their happy expression and to advance their department. This is definitely a win - win solution, to leadership, however, there needs to be an effectively trained leader to do this. The University of South Florida teaches us by example, and the professors are excellent both in practice and in position. It is refreshing for the school, for us and for the University as it is actually advancing research. “Leaders typically express symbolic aspects of leadership by working beneath the surface of events and activities and searching for deeper meaning and value. “ (Sergiovanni, 2007, p. 9) This quote has been explained in my previous paper; however, fortunately I am able to rely on my hard work and diligence in my work ethic that I have found the perfect quote which explains my narrative in this last paper. This quote from Sergiovanni puts into words so eloquently phrased which justifies my narrative about working behind the scenes with the teachers of the different departments and drawing them together while advancing technology.

6. In excellent schools things “hang together”’ a sense of purpose rallies people to a common cause; work has meaning and life is significant; teachers and students work together and with spirit; and accomplishments are readily recognized. (Sergiovanni, 2007, p. 6)
7. My Principals and Values of Leadership:
8. Why should others follow you?
9. Personal Commitment to Leadership Actions
10. I believe it is clear from my rhetoric and my passionate personality that I believe in and have a personal commitment to leadership. It is true that I have been slowed down a little with my last set back; however, the truth is I absolutely feel I am a born leader and I am meant to do this job. My passion for helping people and my contagious enthusiasm can be seen from afar and my actions always prove my strong work ethic and complete commitment to whatever it is I am doing. The truth is as an administrator if you are truly visible and in the classrooms where you should be then you will instantly see the necessary ingredients for improving your school grade. It is enthusiasm for learning. This is very clear to me and it is obvious that my personal commitment to the school and my leadership action is being visible in the classrooms. I believe this is crucial and will automatically increase the quality of the teaching and therefore the learning. My personal commitment to my leadership at my school is to know the curriculum and make sure it is rigorous and relevant. I am presently doing a curriculum audit on voice at Harrison and I believe this demonstrates my personal commitment and action. Auditing the curriculum allows full immersion in what is being taught in the classroom through written work as well as lesson observation. I could discuss strategies and skills that must be taught in order to effect learning gains and here I could teach you everything I have learned about motivation about theory x and theory y; or rather specifically I could help you understand Herzberg’s theory or Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, however, this paper and narrative include the knowledge of all that research. I have pointed out my personal commitment and explained my leadership actions of being visible, curriculum audits, lesson observations, change theories, motivational theories, etc. therefore I believe I have made it clear how my personal commitment and my leadership actions are being visible and engaged with the teachers and the students. If your teachers are skilled professionals, who enjoy their job, and actually engage with the students and share their experiences and provide relevant experiences in the curriculum then you will experience significant learning gains. It is not a mystery and you don't need statistics to figure it out.( I have taken statistics!) My theory is if you are the educational leader, you are a symbol and need to be out and involved with your teachers and students. I am highly engaged when I am at Harrison and so is everyone else that is on that site. My personal commitment and my leadership action is to use my knowledge of change theories and knowledge of psychology to initiate motivation based on research. I may be very enthusiastic and extreme, however, I definitely have the personal commitment and my leadership actions are to get engaged utilizing knowledge, skills, theories and best practices which will allow my school to be an A school. To finish this section, I will end with a statement of strong evidential support. We have all been students and we have all been attracted to or hated certain subjects. It is a fact that the atmosphere created by the skill, talent, enthusiasm of the teacher and the ability of the teacher to build a respectful classroom community creates a comfortable safe learning zone. This zone is where learning happens and gains are a direct result. The proof and support of this fact is in each of our experiences, as we reflect back to high school and remember a class that we didn't want to go to. We remember purposely being late, not paying attention, and not doing the work!...and we also remember that no one seemed to care! The most effective indicator for student learning gains is active engaged, enthusiastic classrooms which are led by highly effective and highly qualified teachers. As an instructional leader, I would be in and out of the classroom all day. This would require delegating routine tasks and rotating duties in order to make the time to be involved with what is happening in the classrooms. On a personal note, my last year in teaching I had a 100% pass on FCAT writes for my first year teaching FCAT writing with a low achieving high ESOL population. I know that was because of my enthusiasm, competence and active engagement with the students. This is the same attitude I will put into my school. Yes, I want to be a Principal!!!What are you willing to lose your job for i.e., what are your non-negotiables?
The most important part of myself that I would never change for anyone or any career is my desire to have integrity and to be true to myself. This essentially means that I need to live life listening to my conscious and following God. My personal belief is trusting is Jesus as Lord and therefore I must be true to this and this is something that is non-negotiable. I need to work at a place where I can express my love for the Lord for our purpose of fulfilling our missions while we are in this world. I will never “buy-into” politics or saying things just to get along or fit in. I believe that every second of our life is valuable and worthwhile. There is any time to be playing games with our lives and pretending to believe things we don’t really believe in. Our life is to share our gifts and to help others and I believe we can only do this by being genuine. I would rather have only one friend that was true than hundreds who would say things that they didn’t believe. My value in life is that we are here to represent God and we don’t always do the right things but we must always strive towards that goal. If we fall, we should say sorry and get up and start again. Therefore, the question posed for this platform is what would I lose my job for? I would lose my job if that meant going against my conscious and not being true to myself.


Glatthorn, Allan, A., and Boschee, Floyd, and Whitehead, Bruce, M. (2006) Curriculum Leadership: Development and Implementation. Published by Sage Publications
Johnson, Ruth, S.(2002) Using Data to Close the Achievement Gap: How to Measure Equity in Our Schools.Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, California.
Owens, Robert, G., and Valesddky, Thomas, C. (2007) Organizational Behavior in Education: Adaptive Leadership and school Reform. Published by Pearson Education.
Sergiovanni, Thomas, J. (2007). Rethinking Leadership: A Collection of Articles. Published by Corwin Press, SAGE Publications. Sergiovanni, Thomas, J. (2005) Strengthening the Heartbeat: Leading and Learning Together in Schools. Published by Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.
Shapiro, J. and Stefkovich, J. (2009). Ethical Leadership and Decision Making in Education: Applying Theoretical Perspectives to Complex Dilemmas. Published by Laurence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., New Jersey, U.S.A.

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