Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2009

Publication Title

International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation






Teachers who seek a career as a school administrator envision their leadership will be transformational and charismatic--and are often surprised by the conflict and confrontation that is an inevitable part of school administration (Hall, 2008; Hartzell, Williams, & Nelson, 1995; Sigford, 2005). Just as preservice teachers imagine a future career where all children love learning and respect teachers, only to find a reality that is less utopian (Su, 1992), this disconnect between the ideal of the vision and the reality and the new job often produces disappointment and shock (Senge, et al., 2000). The reality is that successful school leaders must engage the school and community in the development of school structures and climates that will promote change, innovation, and creativity to educate the most diverse group of students ever seen in U.S. schools (CCSSO, 2008: Jazzar & Algozzine, 2006; Murphy, 2006). School administrators are responsible for improving teaching, learning, and student achievement at all levels of public and private education, and so developing and assessing the potential for this leadership is central to the mission of educational administration programs. Along with knowledge and skills, dispositions form the basis of what a school leader can bring to the critical and creative tasks of educational administration. Dispositions, “the values, commitments, and professional ethics that influence behavior” (NCATE, 2002, p. 53), can be more difficult to teach and assess than knowledge or skills (Edick, Danielson, & Edwards, 2005; Edwards & Edick, 2006). Development of positive dispositions must be vigorously and intentionally addressed by school leadership preparation programs, because administrators who have not developed positive dispositions have trouble being leaders of an effective schools (Davis, 1998; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Heifetz, 2006). Therefore, it is imperative for those who prepare administrators to assess and encourage the development of these dispositions in a deliberate, sequential manner.


This module has been peer-reviewed, accepted, and sanctioned by the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration (NCPEA) as a significant contribution to the scholarship and practice of education administration. In addition to publication in the Connexions Content Commons, this module is published in the International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation, Volume 4, Number 4 (October – December 2009). Formatted and edited in Connexions by Theodore Creighton, Virginia Tech. Used by permission.