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Essential skills for potential school administrators : a case study of one Saskatchewan urban school division



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Some school divisions find themselves with a limited number of qualified applicants for administration positions. Aspirants require suggestions of and guidance toward effective leadership training programs and supports. A clear understanding of essential leadership skills may create an incentive for classroom teachers to apply for administration positions and potentially decrease the strain on school divisions. Selection and suitability of qualified candidates applying for vacancies will diminish school boards’ struggles to fill administrative vacancies. The purpose of this case study was to describe what administrative personnel – superintendents, principals, and vice principals – in one Saskatchewan urban school division consider essential skills for classroom teachers to develop as a means to position themselves as future school administrators. Furthermore, the case study set out to identify appropriate leadership development programs and supports to assist aspiring administrators in leadership development. This study aspired to isolate programs that practicing administrators in the school division posited as most useful in their own skill acquisition and development.A mixed-methods survey questionnaire was administered to 117 administrators of one Saskatchewan urban school division. The administrators’ insights and expertise as to the essential skills required to be an effective administrator will assist classroom teachers prepare for the potential of becoming formal leaders. Forty percent of this group responded to the survey. Data from this case study were compared to a similar case study conducted by John Daresh (1994) in the United States.Participants believed aspiring administrators must develop self-awareness skills to be effective educational leaders and must be offered appropriate leadership programs and supports through which aspirants could develop essential leadership skills. Even though the majority of respondents suggested self-awareness skills were essential to develop for effective leadership, they posited the importance of also developing technical and social skills. This case study found that while a commonality of skills were identified by participants as essential, it was extremely important for aspiring administrators, with the assistance of their school board, to build on their own personal leadership strengths.



Administrators, Principals, Beginning Principals, Aspiring administrators, Essential skills, Leadership skills, Leadership development, In-school administrators



Master of Education (M.Ed.)


Educational Administration


Educational Administration



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