What is an Educational Leader?

A number of professional education associations have attempted to answer this question.  Some have outlined the skills, knowledge, and understandings needed to be an effective educational leader.

Courtesy of bju.edu

Steve Petit, BJU’s 5th President.  Courtesy of bju.edu

As I reviewed recently the standards established by the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC), which operates under the auspices of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), I decided to share them with our readership.

I am including only the skeleton version here (just the main standards); however a complete list of the knowledge, disposition, and performance indicators can be found on the ISLLC website (see listing at the end of this article).

Here are ISLLC’s six (6) basic standards–

Standard 1

An education leader promotes the success of every student by facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a vision of learning that is shared and supported by all stakeholders.

Standard 2

An education leader promotes the success of every student by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth.

Standard 3

An education leader promotes the success of every student by ensuring management of the organization, operation, and resources for a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment.

Standard 4

An education leader promotes the success of every student by collaborating with faculty and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources.

Standard 5

An education leader promotes the success of every student by acting with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner.

Standard 6

An education leader promotes the success of every student by understanding, responding to, and influencing the political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context.

If you want the unabridged version, visit the ISLLC website listed below.


So you want to be an education leader?  You might use these standards, especially the expanded version, as a self-test.

What area do you think most Christian school administrators find most difficult to fulfill?  

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Edward is the founder and managing editor of Focus on Christian Education. He also serves as the Executive Director of the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools.

Please note: we reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Jeff Peterson

    I’m not an administrator; just a teacher. However, Standards 1 and 4 seem to be the most difficult to fulfill. Getting everyone to buy in to an organization’s vision can be tough. Collaboration with staff is not too difficult, but engaging the community outside of the school ministry can be challenging.

    • Matt Ticzkus

      Agreed! Engaging the community outside of the staff is a great challenge. Focus groups can be helpful though. The leader of the school must be continually proclaiming and repeating the vision and mission of the school. People are forgetful… Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      • Edward Earwood

        Focus groups do work effectively, Matt. Also, when a leader can fully engage the staff, these staff members become a force for sharing vision with the greater community. The message not only saturates the community more effectively, it is also more readily received when delivered by those not perceived as leadership.

    • Edward Earwood

      Jeff, you make an interesting point. I think that Standard 1 is certainly fundamental to an effective leadership process; getting everyone “on the same page” so to speak is imperative. Often leaders and teachers work in “isolation,” each doing their own thing. Often times these are good things, just not in sync with the others on the team.

      As for Standard #4, it can be a challenge, but when done well, it is a wonderful thing to see. I see it done with excellence in a few places and always marvel at how the school leadership have engaged and enlarged an entire school community.

    • Edward Earwood

      I appreciate your readership of the blog post. Sometimes as a writer one thinks that the penned word is hitting “cyberspace” and never being read by humankind. Thanks for the response.