Research: The Role of Leadership

“How Leadership Influences Student Learning.” Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, University of Minnesota; Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, 2004.

Leadership not only matters: It is second only to teaching among school-related factors that affect student learning. And its impact is greatest in schools with the greatest needs, according to a comprehensive review of evidence on school leadership by researchers at the Universities of Minnesota and Toronto… There are virtually no documented instances of troubled schools being turned around without intervention by a powerful leader. Many other factors may play a role in such turnarounds, but leadership is the catalyst.


Michael Fullan. The Moral Imperative of School Leadership. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press, 2003.

From the Education Review: “Fullan agrees with the conventional opinion that reform has swept through our education system and with it has overtaken many educators who were not able to face the added demands but could have been the people to lead the reform. Meanwhile, the methods by which change has been implemented have been ineffective causing resistance, subverting actions or apathy among educators. The result is a system not meeting required standards and left with many experienced but aging leaders and disillusioned or inexperienced teachers. Fullan advises that there is great need now for strong leaders to provoke a cultural change that will lead to the development of professional learning communities with a sustained capacity for leadership and learning.”


“Professional Learning Communities: What Are They And Why Are They Important?” SEDL Issues…, Vol. 6, No. 1 (1997)

An overview of the Professional Learning Community (PLC) model for continuous professional development in schools and districts.