Leading from the Trenches: What It Takes to Become an Instructional Leader

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School leaders know that instructional leadership is a crucial aspect of education. However, many of those leaders lack the knowledge and credibility to lead this work. Leaders must be empowered to enter into and guide instructional conversations while building leadership capacity of their teachers in the process. It is easy for administrators to get caught up in the daily managerial tasks of running a school. Passionate educators become principals, however, to make a positive impact on the classroom opportunities and experiences of young people. Because principals may not be experts in all areas of instruction, they must develop their own skills to become genuine participants in instructional conversations. However, the task of a true leader is also to develop the leadership capacity of those around them to ensure that best practices are embraced in all classrooms. The most important and consequential work in schools is happening in the trenches. Principals must commit to join their teachers in that space. With these new skills and a renewed commitment to genuine instructional leadership, administrators can work collaboratively with teachers to transform the educational experience of all students.