Leadership in action: the influence of leadership practices on reform
The purpose of this study was to explore how schools and administrators can be most effective in meeting the needs of students while managing accountability measures such as the Common Core State Standards and ensuing Missouri Learning Standards. Although literature regarding leadership theories is prevalent (Bass & Avolio, 1994; Northouse, 2010; Sergiovanni, 1996), there remains a gap in how quality leadership translates into effective schools with high achieving children (Wallace Foundation, 2012). For struggling schools to advance reform efforts, research must determine how school leaders can best support student achievement throughout the process. The present study sought teacher perceptions of effective leadership behaviors necessary for successful reform. Learning leadership (LL) was the comparative tool utilized to better understand effective governance. Employing a mixed method study, the researcher provided an online, single instance survey with embedded open-ended questions to obtain practitioner insights to explore possible relationships between LL and student achievement amidst reform. The results indicated a potential relationship between the characteristics of educational leaders and positive reform results, however, further research is required to verify the actual implications of each LL behavior. In addition, gender appeared to have a significant role in the perception of practitioner insight, with females being prone to greater agreement of a successful link to instructional support. It is possible that a gap still remains between behaviors deemed supportive by teachers and those displayed by administrators. Additionally, the study highlighted the need for further study of administrative perceptions throughout large-scale transition, and the content of administrative degree programs offered by colleges and universities.