Leading in the middle : towards thriving middle leadership in BC independent schools
By, Natassja Courtney
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SubjectArts-based research; found poetry; independent schools; leadership development; middle leadership; photo elicitation
This action research inquiry, undertaken in partnership with the Independent Schools Association of British Columbia (ISABC), was guided by the question: How might the ISABC’s Team Leadership Program support the leadership development and thriving of emerging and middle leaders throughout and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic? Data were collected with a survey and two focus groups involving 52 participants from 16 independent schools. Arts-based approaches included photo elicitation and found poetry. Key findings indicated the pandemic has magnified the human side of educational leadership and thriving as being a middle leader requires communication, relationship building, and the prioritization of followers’ needs. Recommendations addressed strategies to (a) develop self-awareness, coaching, and interpersonal skills amongst emerging leaders; (b) capitalize on existing leadership networks to foster a stronger sense of belonging within the ISABC; and (c) offer leadership-focused professional development and resources accessible to the broader ISABC community. Keywords: arts-based research, found poetry, K–12, independent schools, leadership development, middle leaders, photo elicitation, thriving at work
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