The article ‘intentional path to headship’ brings into light leadership credential that heads of learning institutions ought to possess. The authors of this article argue the process of rising to head schools has currently started following the same path as that of chief executive officers of organizations; only that the head of schools will be required to posses more sophisticated qualities because they will be required to have the headship or leadership skills and at the same time make sure that their interpersonal and academic elements are not jeopardized. The way schools used be run in the past has changed drastically therefore requiring heads of schools to possess a number of headship qualities similar to those running business organization, a fact that I never thought could a apply to running of learning institutions. This is emphasized in the article when the authors says “Many schools require their heads to at least understand, if not be proficient at, debt financing, business modeling, labor negotiations, working with municipal planning and zoning boards, construction management, and more - skills that would only rarely have been called for from earlier generations of school leaders” (Frankel and Schechtman , 2010).
The two authors show how the model of leadership in schools is currently undergoing rapid revolution. For instance to rise to headship position one was required first to teach for sometime before rising to head a department. This was to go on until one finds himself in the headship position. They refer this model as ‘accidental headship’. The authors holds some critics over this model by saying that it failed to incorporate business related leadership elements such as financial issues which are increasingly becoming indispensable for those who are aspiring to head schools (Frankel and Schechtman, 2010) which myself before reading this article I thought were not necessary.
The authors bring an insight how the model of headship learning institution has gone transformations and is following the same path as those chief executive officers. High learning institutions have developed leadership programs with the aim of creating new generation leaders who are well rounded. These programs are intended to incorporate political and leadership skills into individuals which heads of learning institution must possess to ensure smooth operations. The authors also explain how independent community schools have gained awareness that headship of schools need radical transformation; they have done this by intentionally preparing schools heads for their jobs which they say are increasingly becoming intricate (Frankel and Schechtman, 2010).
As pointed by the authors, in the past there were only few leadership programs that were intended to equip leadership skills to those aspiring to take headship positions in schools. The few programs that were available never paid any attention in developing interpersonal, financial and legal skills which are indispensable elements in running today’s’ learning institutions. The authors argue that leadership programs that are meant to equip school heads with all the skills required are currently being emphasized something they say has been partly attributed to awareness of intricacy involved in running schools and also by the move to prepare leaders to fill a vacuum of quality leaders that is likely to be created by retirement of school heads from the baby boom generation. Several organizations have moved forward to put in place leadership training programs that are designed to intentionally prepare leaders at every level within school. One example of this kind of programs as explored by the authors is the school leadership program developed by NAIS. This program as explained in this article, I think can be effective in preparing leaders for learning institution because it gives individual the necessary opportunity to explore aspects of leadership because according to Frankel and Schechtman (2010) these programs “offers any person in the school an opportunity to explore aspects of leadership and to experience multi-rater feedback on their leadership competencies”.
According to Frankel and Schechtman (2010) intentional training of leaders for learning institution is an indispensable process as it ensures that one is given plenty opportunity to explore his strengths as a leader and also to become aware of the factors that are likely to derail him as a leader. Contrary to what used to happen in the past, Frankel and Schechtman argue that since many leadership programs are being developed nowadays, the process of becoming headship in learning institutions in increasingly becoming more intentional than accidental. The two authors bring out five fundamental leadership elements that those aspiring to head learning institutions must possess. These elements include: handling parents, advancement, finance, working with board and hiring and evaluating of teachers. Moreover, Frankel and Schechtman also bring out the things that a successful headship should possess. He must be knowledgeable in all dimensions involved in the running of the school and posses good emotional intelligence (Frankel and Schechtman, 2010).
Frankel and Schechtman (2010) also argue that shift is also being experienced as the number of heads in learning institution who are outside academic administration is rapidly increasing. This happens in positions that require one to have special qualifications inorder to be a credible candidate for a headship position.
Also Frankel and Schechtman explore the things one those aspiring to head learning institutions should know. These include: knowing very well your strengths and weaknesses, one should be able to see himself through others, develop a good portfolio of relevant experience and be well acquainted with common issues affecting independent schools (Frankel and Schechtman, 2010).
Since the act of running schools is increasingly becoming intricate, the stakeholders should rise to the occasion and prepare heads for the task of effectively managing our learning institutions. As discussed by Frankel and Schechtman, this will involve designing appropriate leadership programs that intentionally prepare headship for managing learning institutions. This will require radical transformation from the old model which Frankel and Schechtman refer to as ‘accidental’ headship.