My principal is a wonderful person. He knows the names of the students, pays attention to what is going on with his staff, and is passionate about student learning. My principal is also uncomfortable with technology.
How do I know this? Well, several years ago, I interviewed for a job at his high school. The school was three hours away from where we were living, so I had done my homework on the district ahead of time; I had looked up the high school online. Unfortunately, the site did not have much information about the students, staff, or community.
I have always been a straightforward person. So when I told the principal that I had tried to do background research on the school online, and he asked me what I thought about the site, I told him it didn’t communicate much information. He knew that already.
My principal doesn’t tweet. He doesn’t blog. He doesn’t use schoology for staff meetings. But does this make him an ineffective leader in technology innovation? No, it doesn’t. Because like any good leader, he knows how to delegate to the strengths of his employees. During the interview he asked me if I’d take over the website. He didn’t micromanage the project, either.
It’s not just delegating–when I found out our middle school was allowing students to bring their own devices, last fall I wrote a proposal that explained how I would BYOD in my classroom. Even though the stated school policy prohibited the use of smart phones, like any good leader, he saw the potential in my ideas and let me experiment.
Even though he doesn’t tweet and the school currently has no official site on Facebook, when my proposed “Social Media and Digital Interactivity: Journalism in the Digital Age” course crossed his desk, he knew that using social media appropriately is a crucial 21st century skill, and he said yes.
I think the hallmark of any great leader is one who is supportive of enthusiasm and best practices. He might not know hashtags, but he does know how to support great teaching.