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Running Head: LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHY

Leadership Philosophy
Greg Lumsden
California State University San Marcos

LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHY

Leaders get people moving. They energize and mobilize. They take people and
organizations to places they have never been before. Leadership is not a fad, and the
leadership challenge never goes away. (Kouzes & Posner, 2012, p. 1).
Looking back on my preparation at California State University San Marcos I cant help
but think about the people who helped me develop as a leader. Dr. Carol Van Vooren helped me
see the importance of having a vision for a school, developing that vision, and being an
instructional leader. Dr. Candy Singh brought a passion to empower others to act. Dr. Anthony
Roseliz and Dr. Delores Lindseys focus on equity in education showed me the importance of
looking at data to see ways to address student needs. These principles demonstrated by these
leaders are the basis of my philosophy as an educational leader.
Vision
According to Kouzes & Posner (2012) one practice of an exemplary leader is one that
Inspires a Shared Vision. Effective leaders do this by Enlisting Others and Envisioning the
Future (Kouses and Posner, 2012). Being a visionary leader is the first category of Californias
administrator performance expectation. By having a Shared Vision it brings purpose to the
mission of educating all students to high levels. I was given many opportunities to see a schools
vision at work during EDAD 620. Most weeks the cohort visited \school sites with extraordinary
leaders. One such principal was Dr. Eric Chagala at the VIDA, Vista Innovation and Design
Academy in the Vista Unified School District. Dr. Chagala shared the dramatic change that is
happening when he brought his vision to create a school that combines the science, technology,
and art in preparing students for careers. His passion was evident as he shared the turn around at
what was formerly Washington Middle School. A low performing school that neighborhood

LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHY

children were fleeing from to becoming VIDA, a middle school that was attracting students from
all over North San Diego County.
In EDAD 618B Leading School Improvement, Dr. Carol Van Vooren took the cohort
through a process of writing an inspiring mission statement. As aspiring educational leaders, we
are dedicated to being caring, collaborative, and equitable in developing life long-learners, and
passionate, knowledgeable educators.
The mission statement was realized in a wonderfully collaborative process. On pieces of
paper students wrote what was important for a leader, crumpled them up, and threw them like
snowballs. Each cohort member picked up a different paper and read another persons statement.
We then met in groups to write a mission statement to share. After sharing, we combined the
groups visions until we came to a consensus. This really captured the essence of the cohort.

Leading for Equity


Cultural proficiency is a term we became familiar with in EDAD 610, Leading School
Communities in a Pluralistic Society taught by Dr. Delores Lindsey. Culturally proficient
leaders intentionally establish diversity, equity and access to resources as priorities for their
shared vision, and create action plans to achieve that vision (Lindsey, D. & Lindsey R., 2014, p.
24). In EDAD 610 we completed the context map of the school we work. From the context map I
was able to see aspects that influence the school that I had never considered deeply before. I
started to see my school, our district, and my job as a complex entity influenced by social,
cultural, political, and educational trends. By creating the context map I realized that many of the
supports are in place to address the deficiency of our most needy students and demographic
groups that have been historically underserved by public education.

LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHY

In EDAD 618A and 618B taught by Dr. Anthony Roseliz and Dr. Van Vooren
respectfully, I used my school for a case study to address the gap of the Latino and Hispanic
demographic group on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress
(CAASPP). Through my analysis of data I discovered the Hispanic and Latino demographic
group would need to improve 35% to achieve at the same level of the White demographic group
on the mathematics assessment. With this data I created an action plan for the school to address
these students needs. This plan is beginning to be realized. Part of the plan is to build student
vocabulary based on research by Robert J. Marzano. Students vocabulary knowledge is directly
tied to their success in school (Marzano, 2014, Level 3, para. 4). At this time each grade level at
Rail Ranch Elementary has created the cognitive verbs selected from a list created by Robert J.
Marzano and our school is moving forward with a focus of becoming a STEAM (Science,
Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) school.
Finally, in EDAD 616B, taught by Michael Grove, I became more familiar with Local
Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) and LCFF (Local Control Funding Formula) when I
created a brochure of the district budget. This helped me become more familiar with the finance
law and the requirement to meet the needs of all students. In a group project we also presented
the Del Mar Elementary School District LCAP plan to the class. These projects helped me to
apply cultural proficiency through a lens of leadership.
Instructional Leader
The results of this study well document that the most important factor affecting student
learning is the teacher. The immediate and clear implication of this finding is that
seemingly more can be done to improve education by improving the effectiveness of
teachers than by any other single factor. (Wright, Horn, & Sanders, 1997, p. 63).

LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHY

With each class the focus on being an instructional leader was evident. Many of the
leaders expressed the importance of instruction and learning and that the most important persons
were the teachers. It is the leaders responsibility to make sure the teaching and learning in the
class can happen. In EDAD 614, Leading Instruction, taught by Candy Singh, I remember the
lesson she learned when observing a teacher. At the beginning of the lesson she had difficulty
with the visual of a clock the teacher was using on the overhead, but once she stopped thinking
about the clock and focusing on the student learning, she saw that the clock did not matter. What
mattered was that the students were learning. This experience helped her create a teacher
evaluation model. We had the opportunity to apply her model for teacher evaluations by
observing a colleague. Through this evaluation process I took on the role of a principal
evaluating a teacher. I observed a reading and writing assignment, looking for positive student
learning, positive strategies the teacher uses, and then suggesting one strategy the teacher could
implement to improve his teaching. This was a great experience in helping me be an instructional
leader, one that is a teacher of teachers to ensure that high levels of learning are in place in all
classrooms.
Conclusion
As I look back at my time in the California State University San Marcos Education
Administration program, I cant help but think of The Five Practices of Exemplary Leaders from
Kouzes and Pozners (2012) book The Leadership Challenge we read in EDAD 614. According
to Kouzes and Pozner (2012) exemplary leaders, Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision,
Challenge the Process, Enable others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. By mapping the context
of the school, creating a shared vision with the cohort, using data to achieve equity through
teacher practices, the focus on teacher effectiveness, as well as the many rich discussion and

LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHY
activities of our weekly meetings, I sensed the professors, the cohort, and my colleagues have
encouraged my heart to apply these practices to become an exemplary leader.

LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHY

References:
Kouzes, J. M., Posner, B. Z. (2012). The leadership challenge. San Francisco, CA: The
Leadership Challenge
Marzano, R., Warrick, P. & Simms, J. (2014). A handbook for high reliability
schools. Bloomington Indiana. Marzano Research Laboratory.
Lindsay, D.B. & Lindsey, R. B. (2014). Cultural proficiency: Why ask why? Leadership 44(4),
24-27, 37
Wright, P. S., Horn, S. P., & Sanders, S. L. (1997). Teacher and classroom context effects on
student achievement: Implications for teacher evaluation. Journal of Personal Evaluation
in Education, 11(1), 57-67