School Principals as Leaders


Nowadays, researchers actively discuss the role of a principal as an effective school leader because of the overall tendency to reconsider leadership practices that can contribute to students’ achievements. The Wallace Foundation (2012) presented five critical functions performed by school principals that are associated with their leadership: forming a vision of academic success, creating a positive climate, stimulating leadership in other people, improving instruction, and managing resources to improve performance. However, in spite of formulating these five responsibilities as major ones, it is almost impossible to limit modern school leaders’ roles in educational organizations only to these specific tasks as today they have the potential to serve as transformational leaders and role models for both teachers and students.

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From this perspective, school leaders can directly influence the academic achievements of students and support is an important component of a positive climate. Additionally, leaders need to inspire professional communities as they promote the change and effectively manage resources. The purpose of this paper is to discuss why school principals, who focus on performing five key responsibilities, should be viewed from a wider perspective of transformational leadership.

Synthesis of Key Ideas

In spite of teachers’ impact on students’ achievements, school principals can have even more influence on others as transformational and visionary leaders indicating a standard level for students and educators and creating a positive atmosphere. According to the report by the Wallace Foundation (2012), “developing a shared vision around standards, and success for all students is an essential element of school leadership” (p. 6). Furthermore, principals can contribute to changing a school climate to a positive one in order to promote learning through avoiding teacher isolation, negativism, and creating a welcoming environment (The Wallace Foundation, 2012).

As a result, a leader in a school can serve as a role model for teachers to know what standards to follow and for students in terms of identifying paths to success. The current tendency of referring to principals as influential leaders make them responsible agents in improving diverse students’ learning in an appropriate environment.

Principals as leaders are expected to stimulate leadership in others and inspire professional communities, creating change in instructions and effectively managing available resources. Thus, “Principals play a major role in developing a ‘professional community’ of teachers who guide one another in improving instruction” (The Wallace Foundation, 2012, p. 7). As a result, leaders create a group of followers around them who can influence the realization of necessary changes in a school environment.

Additionally, effective leaders work to improve instructions and effectively manage data to assess outcomes and propose action steps, supervising changes and inspiring others to act. Therefore, it is possible to conclude that principals as real leaders need to perform even more tasks in order to achieve an effective transformational change in their organization.


Currently, I can assess my progress as a leader positively in relation to the following tasks: creating an appropriate climate for teaching and learning, improving instruction, and managing resources, such as people and data, to reach goals. However, I cannot state that my skills in creating a vision of academic success for all students and promoting leadership in others are developed enough. From this perspective, the areas of improvement I can identify at the current stage are the work on formulating and promoting expectations regarding students’ academic success with reference to diverse children and students with disabilities as I need to research and practice this aspect.

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Furthermore, I need to work on building my image of an influential leader who can stimulate the professional development of educators in the context of acting in professional learning communities. To complete these tasks, I can refer to the information from the report by the Wallace Foundation (2012) and determine the areas for further examination and analysis to develop my potential as a leader. Consequently, I will identify other areas that I need to improve in order to perform as an effective educational leader.

The important implications of the discussed report for my practice are that principals are the most influential leaders in the sphere of school education. In addition, a climate viewed as hospitable to learning should be not only adjusted for students’ needs and safe but also supportive to promote students’ positive experiences in interacting with educators. Moreover, it is important to set high expectations for all students in order to guarantee their higher achievements, as is noted in the literature on the problem.


Principals today should be viewed as influential leaders oriented toward changing the organization while promoting more opportunities for students to achieve academic success and for teachers to develop professionally. Although researchers determine five key tasks of a school leader, it is possible to identify even more critical responsibilities. However, to guarantee to achieve success on the path of school leadership, it is necessary to perform these activities: form a vision of academic success for students, create a positive and supportive climate, promote leadership in other educators, improve instruction, and manage people and resources to improve performance. These steps will help principals to develop as effective transformational leaders.


The Wallace Foundation. (2012). The school principal as leader: Guiding schools to better teaching and learning. Web.

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