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Sustaining Leadership


Thank you to Andy Hargreaves and Dean Fink for sharing their piece on sustainability and for permission granted by Phi Delta Kappan to post this article on our web site.

Abstract: "Educational change is difficult enough to initiate and implement and even harder to sustain. It is important, therefore, to identify what kinds of sustainable leadership promote successful school change in the long run beyond a few selected sites. Yet existing literature equates sustainable leadership and change only with what is maintainable over time. This article develops a deeper, five-dimensional definition of sustainability in leadership and change in terms of securing improvement that sustains or nourishes learning, that endures over time, that can be attained within existing or achievable resources, that does not harm other students or schools in the surrounding environment, and that cultivates a rich environment of diversity and complexity rather than one of standardization. Three paired examples of successful and failed sustainability are then presented in the areas of leadership for learning, distributed leadership and leadership succession."