Leaders Exerting Pressure for Positive Change: Leverage for Educational Leadership Reform

By W. Fred Ivy, Don P. Schulte and Barbara Hong.

Published by The Organization Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

You need only scan your local newspaper for a few weeks to find countless stories of organizational and administrative dysfunction. This trend is especially true in public education, where superintendents and school boards frequently clash on a variety of issues. The very institutions they are charged to serve are often rendered ineffective by these public disputes and the internal deficits they reveal. We propose an organizational leadership model utilizing an analogy of levers and wedges to convey related recommendations for positive change. The lever represents a proactive leader who exerts pressure for positive change and unity of purpose. Wedges are divisive employees who misuse and manipulate authority or power to inhibit team spirit and stifle productivity. An application of this model to three school district accounts and one hypothetical case further illuminates its relevancy. The challenges faced in education today require leaders to identify and employ the use of levers, while addressing the destructive effects of wedges. Best employment practices in view of the presence of levers and wedges will also be discussed to address this dilemma which all organizations face.

Keywords: Leadership, Administration, Education, Organizational Change, Organizational Conflict, Organizational Reform, Schools, Collaboration

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp.103-110. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.310MB).

Dr. W. Fred Ivy

Associate Professor, Educational Administration, College of Arts & Science and Education: CASE, Texas A&M University, Texarkana, Texarkana, Texas, USA

Dr. Ivy started in ‘special’ education back in the early ‘70s in Texas and realized early on that if he were to impact others in a major way it would have to be through supervision of ‘general’ educators; he would need to represent everyone on campus (and eventually stand for the rights of all stakeholders in the entire school district). He finished a doctorate in supervision and educational administration from the University of Houston in 1976 and subsequently has served as Campus Principal in six districts and has experience as District Superintendent in thee independent school systems. Fred has also taught at the university level off-and-on for over 25 years full-time faculty in Special Education, School Leadership, and a combination of both in the following states in America: Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and began his administrative career in the State of New Mexico.

[His interests in restoring vintage sports cars, an old farm house, and periodic camping, keep him grounded in the ‘grime of life’....]

Dr. Don P. Schulte

Assistant Professor, Educational Administration, Educational Leadership and Foundation, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, USA

Don Schulte is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership and Foundations at The University of Texas at El Paso. Before assuming his current position, he served as an associate professor and director of the Educational Administration Program at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas. Prior to his work in higher education, Dr. Schulte spent about 27 years in public education and held many different positions, including teacher, assistant principal, principal, curriculum director, assistant to the superintendent (government relations), assistant superintendent for instruction and superintendent. During his tenure as superintendent, Schulte’s district was academically recognized for its high student performance by the State of Texas. He received the Outstanding Dissertation Award for the social and behavioral sciences from the University of Texas El Paso Graduate School in 2001 and the 1991 Gold Nugget Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of UTEP alumni.

Dr. Barbara Hong

Associate Professor, Education, Human Development, Social Sciences, Penn State Altoona, Altoona, PA, USA

Dr. Barbara Hong is an Associate Professor of Education at Penn State Altoona. She obtained her Ph.D. from Columbia University in New York City after receiving three Masters from the same institutions. Her areas of research include teacher quality, special education, ethics of caring, self- empowerment, and educational leadership. Dr. Hong has been working with students for over 20 years, particularly students with special needs. She has been a national and international speaker and consultant throughout her career. She has worked with schools in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Dr. Hong is a certified special educator and school administrator.


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