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4 Minute Read
May 8, 2024

Beyond the Classroom: The Essential K-12 Leadership Skills You Need

What kind of leadership skills will I gain from the Fellowship? I want to be prepared.

Transform: To change in positive ways 

The best principals (like the best teachers) are change agents. They understand that the status quo is not working in our nation’s schools—and that all children deserve access to a quality K-12 education. The Fellowship prepares transformational leaders.

But transformational leadership isn’t just one thing. 

Our experience confirms this: for more than two decades, New Leaders has been developing impactful K-12 educational leaders. The leaders we develop serve as an example of what is possible. They support students in fully realizing their futures as the next generation of great thinkers, innovators, and advocates in service of a stronger, more equitable, and more just society.

Research also affirms that effective school leaders use many kinds of leadership—from instructional leadership to equity-focused, resilient leadership to talent management—to advance excellence and the belief that all children are capable of extraordinary things. 

Leadership skills learned in the Fellowship

The Fellowship equips you with the essential skills you need in every area of transformational school leadership. You graduate ready to lead from day one. Here’s how the leadership skills you learn in the Fellowship enable you to drive transformational impact in your school.

Top 6 kinds of leadership principals need

School leaders make and implement decisions—big and small—all day long to accelerate student learning as well as drive continuous improvement for teachers and overall school improvement. Below are six kinds of school leadership that successful principals use to transform outcomes:

Instructional Leadership: Setting a vision for instructional excellence and executing against that vision to ensure students are engaged in deep thinking and high-quality learning opportunities. 

Equity-Focused Leadership: Continuously dismantling inequitable and exclusionary practices and creating a fully inclusive environment where all children and adults learn at high levels

Distributed Leadership: Developing high-performing teams and sharing data-informed decision-making with the school community to fuel collective action and self-efficacy.

Operations and Planning: Creating and sustaining successful systems and structures and equitably distributing resources that support learning and instructional priorities. 

Adaptive Leadership: Mobilizing others to resolve challenges that require changes in values, beliefs, assumptions, and habits of behavior.

School Culture Leadership: Fostering an intellectual and caring culture of learning, structured inquiry, ongoing curiosity, and high expectations for all members of the school community. 

Our Transformational Leadership Framework

For more on transformational leadership, visit New Leaders Transformational Leadership FrameworkTM (TLFTM). We developed the TLF in response to conducting extensive research on how effective leaders influence student success. Like you, when New Leaders started more than 20 years ago, we wondered why some principals delivered breakthrough gains and others did not.

We studied 100 of the highest performing schools, zeroing in on common practices across the schools—regardless of size, location, or student demographics—that contributed to student success. The TLF outlines how specific school leader actions influence and enable schoolwide practices that collectively yield sustained improvements in student achievement.

At New Leaders, we know the solution to disrupting systemic inequities is to build the capacity of diverse, equity-minded school leaders who are committed to the success of every child. 

Invest in your leadership development: Get started today

Fellow, Michelle Means, cut out in orange square frame | Fellowship Images
Michelle Means
Fellowship Alum, '23
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