Leadership Capacity–A Key to Sustaining Lasting Improvement

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Center for Teaching and Learning

Publication Date

Fall 2009


Studies on school change indicate that schools successful in sustaining school improvement build capacity for leadership within the organization (Harris & Lambert, 2003). Reliance on the leadership of the principal alone is no longer viable if schools are to improve and sustain improvement. Leadership capacity is about creating conditions within the school for growth, self-renewal, and the development and distribution of leadership throughout the school organization. Studies indicate that school leaders and teachers must commit, participate, and have leadership capacity for a school to sustain meaningful change. To explore the discussion on leadership capacity, the author will address a series of the questions based on a leadership capacity survey that was administered to a group of teachers in the school administration program and another group of candidates completing the principal internship in Washington State public schools. To discuss the issue of leadership capacity, the author started with the following question: What is broad-based skillful leadership in schools?


This article was originally published in Education.

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