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School leadership and effective schools: some recent research findings. . Professor Petros Pashiardis , Educational Leadership CCEAM President Open University of Cypru s Nicosia, Cyprus FAX +357-22 411601 e.mail: p.pashiardis @ ouc Keynote Presented at the

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School leadership and effective schools:

some recent research findings


  • ProfessorPetros Pashiardis,Educational Leadership
  • CCEAM President
  • Open University of Cyprus
      • Nicosia, Cyprus
      • FAX +357-22411601
  • e.mail:
  • Keynote Presented at the
  • Kenya Association of Educational Administration & Management (KAEAM) conference
  • 9-11 April 2007, Eldoret, Kenya
this presentation will proceed as follows
This presentation will proceed as follows:
  • Four factors which will affect public education will be presented
  • Then, some findings on school leadership and school effectiveness from Cyprus
  • Discussion and Implications for school leaders
  • And some concluding thoughts will help me bring this to closure
The unprecedented demographic shifts and reformations of populations all over the world as we know it


The recent transitions of world economy from agriculture and manufacturing to information and computers, and now to bio-genetics as shown in the next table











The corresponding transitions in mainstream personal values which comes as a result of the previous table

The intensification of global competition and the consequent redefinition of excellence, effectiveness and quality

In general, EFFECTIVE principals in a study I conducted in Cyprus:
  • Have great love and ambition for their profession which they regard as a sacred and holy duty.
  • Are deep thinkers and constant learners. They will read any journal related to their profession. They also take time to reflect on their actions and exercise self-criticism.

(3) Have the deep conviction that they can influence much more from a position of leadership, such as the principalship, than any other position in the school system.

They are good bureaucrats since the educational system in Cyprus is so centralized and communication with the Ministry of Education is so important for their schools and their careers. This bureaucratic behavior was also exhibited irrespective of how much they would criticize bureaucratic behavior in general.

(5) They are risk-takers and they are not afraid to "express their inner thoughts freely". They are definitely not a "yes" person. Sometimes, they will take risks even against the will of the Ministry of Education (considered a heresy in Cyprus). They are strong-willed, decisive and ready to act.

They view competition with confidence and they want their schools to be compared with other schools both in Cyprus and abroad. This is so because they are self-confident and have the conviction that they are doing a good job.

(7) They are good time-managers. "The best friend and the best foe is time". They are well-organized and their daily school life is evenly divided among the many tasks they need to perform.

(8) They are honest and truth lovers. They tell the truth to parents about their kids, and they tell the truth to teachers about their own performance without trying to "beautify" the situation as most teachers try to do in Cyprus. They are forthcoming and bold when expressing their views.

(9) They find innovative ways to reward both teachers and students because they strongly believe that rewards (especially not material ones) are an important motivator for people to act.

They are ambitious and have the drive for constant improvement and advancement to positions of authority and influence.
  • They are very keen on creating and maintaining good school-parent relations; they know how to use parents in constructive ways and have an open-door policy for their schools.

(12) They mostly believe in trait-leadership theory even though they acknowledge that they "should learn some management theories in order to improve their management style". The belief though is that "if you don't have it (i.e., leadership ability) you will not get it".

It is interesting that what we (wrongly) perceive as "female" qualities (such as caring, sharing, showing emotions and feelings), were evident in all forty-nine effective principals (both male and female). Therefore, I am tempted to say that MBFE is their philosophy:

Management By Feelings and Emotions

Generally speaking, in the study of School Leadership and its Effects, two main issues have arisen:
  • What positions or roles do leaders have in a school organization?

2. Under what conditions does school leadership affect student achievement, and to what extent?

Reasons for the contradictory findings:

1.Theoretical & conceptual problems:

  • No common definition of leadership.
  • Contextual differences among studies.
  • Lack of intermediate variables between leadership and achievement

2. Methodological problems:

  • Lack of justification of the methods.
  • Problems with the validation of instruments.
  • Lack of the appropriate statistical techniques.
Three main models of principals’ leadership effects on student achievement exist:

1. The model of direct effects

2. The model of indirect effects

3. The model of reciprocal effects

the variables of the study kythreotis pashiardis 2006
The variables of the study (Kythreotis & Pashiardis, 2006)



  • School Level
  • Principal’s Leadership Style
  • Organizational Culture
  • Classroom Level
  • Teacher’s Leadership Style
  • Learning Culture
  • Student Level
  • Student Prior Knowledge
  • Gender
  • Socio-economic Status

Dependent Variables

Student Final Knowledge

  • Direct effects of the principal’s human resource frame (style) on student achievement
    • Validation of the direct effects model
    • Validation of the studies, which found small but significant effects of leadership on student achievement
    • Leadership is characterized by one to one relationship.
    • A principal’s “female” style (human frame) affects student achievement
    • Contextual factors (the culture & the educational system of Cyprus)

2.Lack of any influences of teachers’ leadership style on student achievement.

  • Due to problems of the evaluation of teachers’ leadership style by students (questionnaire).

3.Effects of both school and classroom cultures on student achievement.

  • Decision-making process, change & commitment are important (school organizational culture).
  • Academic emphasis & academic efficiency are important (classroom learning culture).

4.Influences of principals’ leadership on culture at the classroom level but not at the school level.

  • Leadership is characterized by one to one relationship.
  • It is more time consuming to change school culture than classroom culture.
  • The frequent rotation of principals & teachers among schools in Cyprus.

5.Validation of theoretical models of both school organizational culture and classroom learning culture.

  • Leadership and culture have three main common elements. They are: (1) multidimensional, (2) multi-personal, and (3) multilevel.
implications for policy makers
Implications: For policy makers

1. Reduction of the degree of centralization of educational systems – Self-management and more autonomy and accountability in schools.

2. Systems of principals’ promotion that offer opportunities and motives to those young teachers who can work as effective principals

3. Reallocation of principals´ time.

4. Appropriate programs for principals’ preparation and further professional development.

implications for school leaders
Implications: For school leaders

1. Strong presence of principals in every aspect of school life.

2. Emphasis on a strong, positive culture (commitment, innovation & shared decision-making process).

3. Promotion of teachers’ professional development and in-service (either at the school level or at the local level).

4. A consideration of two wider implications of the recent incidence of policy-copying attendant on heightened global awareness of different cultural practices: 

a) whether traditional patterns of Anglo-American hegemonic diffusion in educational leadership will perpetuate themselves and,

b) whether models of leader formation are more likely to diverge in the interests of cultural particularism or to converge around a norm of cultural universalism.

historical variations in leader formation

Increasingly school leaders

have been identified by governments as

critical ingredients

in the attainment of high performing school sectors

  • In the UK, both the Teacher Training Agency (TTA, 1998) and the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) as well as the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) have stressed that ‘the key to unlocking the full potential of pupils in our schools lies in the expertise of teachers and headteachers”
Research and inspection evidence demonstrates the close correlation between the quality of teaching and the achievements of pupils, and the correlation between the quality of leadership and the quality of teaching”
  • These kinds of presumed links have prompted the definition of national or system-wide standards of effective leadership.
In Victoria, Australia the phraseology is capabilities and competencies (Department of Education, Employment and Training, 2000). 
  • In Hong Kong competency profile (Task Group on Training and Development of School Heads, 1999, Annex III) and
  • In the USA knowledge, dispositions and performances (Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium, 1996). 

What do these national

preferences have to say about

the evolutionary likelihood

of universalism or particularism?

  • In all cases a close reading of each authority’s or agency’s relevant documentation reveals broad convergence around a mean of school leadership with some accommodation being made for cultural differences.
some concluding thoughts
The cooperative relationships between Universities and Schools should and will be strengthened

The expectations for more efficiency and effectiveness of the school system will continue to increase almost everywhere in the world. Sooner or later society will expect more accountability on behalf of the education systems it helps pay for and teachers and education systems should understand and expect this

Some Concluding Thoughts
The principal is the school's heart and soul
  • The principal is the beginning and the end (or the Alpha and the Omega)
  • As one principal put it, "when you hear good comments about a school you should automatically think of two factors that contribute: "SES and the principal"
  • Personally, I am not so sure about SES but I am definitely sure about the principal
Leadership is a philosophical process and leaders that influence quality at their schools are philosophers!

In Cyprus, and probably elsewhere, when it comes to preparing leaders for leadership and leadership for change we are going through the period of “benevolent neglect”