Characteristics of a principal (skills to develop)
The key characteristic of an alternative school is offering something different from the traditional school, so innovation must be a key part of the mindset of the principal.
George Couros offers the following characteristics and qualities for an educational leader:
Empathetic – To create new and better ways of doing things, we need to first understand who we are creating them for.
Problem Finders – As Ewan McIntosh talks about, it is important that we teach our kids how to ask good questions instead of simply asking for answers. All innovation starts from a question not an answer.
Risk-Takers – Many would argue that “best-practice” is the enemy of innovation. To be truly innovative, you sometimes have to go off the beaten path.
Networked – Steven Johnson has a powerful quote on the importance of networks where he states, “chance favors the connected mind.” Innovation does not happen in isolation, as it is often ideas that are being shared among many that lead to new and better ideas being developed.
Observant – A practice normal among those that would be considered “innovative” is that they constantly look around their world and create connections. It is normal to have a notebook or use their mobile device to record ideas or thoughts around them and link them to their own ideas.
Creators – So many people have great ideas, yet they never come to fruition. Innovation is a combination of ideas and hard work.
Resilient – Things do not always work on the first try, so what are the tweaks or revamping that is needed? To simply try something and give up as soon as it fails never leads to innovation only a definitive end.
Reflective – What worked? What didn’t? What could we do next time? If we started again, what would we do differently? What can we build upon? It is important that in education and innovation, we sit down and reflect on our process..
When you are thinking about the characteristics that are needed in a principal in a charter school, George Couros is a useful guide. The course of study at Genesis University clearly supports the direction that George Couros recommends.