It’s a Matter of Principal!

We all know education gets coverage in the media.  Typically, though, we read, watch, or hear about problems in the schools — budget shortfalls, disappointing test scores, and such.  And those stories are usually found in the back of the metro section or as an afterthought on the evening news.  After all the debate on education and its impact on the community and the future, education doesn’t drive the news.  It tends to just come along for the ride.

Every once and a while, though, education media can surprise you.  Over the last year, we’ve seen cover stories in Time and Newsweek.  Today, USA Today give prominence to NASSP’s Principal of the Year.

No, it is not unusual for USA Today to cover education issues.  They tend to do a terrific job at it, and have a great team of education reporters.  What makes a profile of Louisville, Georgia’s Jefferson County High School Principal Molly Howard — NASSP and MetLife’s 2008 Principal of the Year — so special?  Maybe it is the fact that USA Today gave Principal Howard more than a half page … in the Money section.

Check out the full interview here –

Publishing this interview in the Money section is important to note.  We often talk about how business can influence education reform.  Performance pay.  Management systems.  Return on investment.  We seek to improve our schools by laying business principles on our educational frameworks.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  But there seems to be common belief that business lessons can improve education delivery.

Today’s profile of Howard — in USA Today’s Executive Suite interview series — demonstrates that the business world can also learn a thing or two from educational leaders.  By talking about leadership, data, relationships, listening, and understanding, Howard focuses on the same issues successful business leaders care about.  And she does it through an education lens, demonstrating the universality of such observations.

Further, it demonstrates that leaders are leaders, regardless of their chosen industry sector.  Principals are the CEOs of their building, overseeing facilities, HR, sales, data collection, marketing, and customer service.  They are both building managers and instructional leaders.  And those like Howard demonstrate that true leadership traits are universal.

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