Joe Nathan, a University of Minnesota school leadership scholar, dropped by recently to tell me about his latest project: the Minnesota Leadership Academy for Charter and Alternative Public Schools. He wants to produce all-star principals for innovative schools, including the charter school movement he has been studying since its beginnings.
Nathan gave me a report he just produced with Carleton College junior Joanna Plotz. Their paper, “Learning to Lead,” reveals the secrets of good management of schools and companies, derived from interviews with 24 business leaders. In the Leadership Academy, which opened this fall in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Education, each participating educator has two mentors, one a successful business executive and the other a successful school leader.
That sounds peachy, but it doesn’t get to the heart of what many teachers tell me is the key issue in school leadership today: How did we produce so many lousy administrators?