Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


Mary Olsen took over the Principalship of a large elementary school of over 1500 students in a crowded urban area. From day one, things did not go as she had planned. The first day it rained, upsetting her plans to have an outdoor line up and greet the students and parents together. When meeting the teachers, she expected a sense of collaboration and willingness to work hard. Instead she faced two diverse groups of educators: one was the veteran work force who did not want any changes, having been at the job for twenty plus years. The second group was the newbies (italics mine), recent college graduates who came in wishing to roll up their sleeves and work. However, this set was strongly influenced by the veteran teachers who persuaded them to put forth minimal effort in order to keep the status quo. How could Mary Olson bring these two divergent groups together under a unifying mission, especially since she and the school needed to affect change and evidence student performance increases under the mandates of No Child Left Behind?