Virtual School Leader Standards Framework
Based upon the review of literature for my dissertation titled State-Led Virtual School Senior Leaders – An Exploratory Study, significant gaps were found in academic studies pertaining to the topic of virtual school leadership. In light of this, the review incorporated virtual school leadership and related fields of study including virtual schools, traditional school leadership, traditional school leadership for instructional technology, traditional school leadership standards, virtual leadership, leadership style in a virtual setting, virtual school senior leadership development, and online teaching standards. No studies were discovered during the review that sufficiently addressed the personal, professional, and functional parameters that affected the work and success of virtual school leaders or their intentional preparation through such means as succession planning, formal education, or professional development.
The purpose of my dissertation was the discovery and presentation of findings related to the role characteristics, influential factors, and requirements that can impact virtual school administrators’ leadership qualities, attributes, beliefs, and approaches. The benefit of the study outcomes is that they would lead to the development of virtual school leadership standards, which would also inform their preparation and development.
As a result of the qualitative study that employed the constructivist grounded theory methodology described by Charmaz (2009), the categories of elements that guide, influence, motivate, and change virtual school leaders are:
(a) Leader education, experience, and professional growth (prior to and during the role)
(b) Leader profile (leadership style and approach)
(c) Curriculum and instruction (curriculum standards to instructional delivery)
(d) The learner (student concerns)
(e) Human capital (instructional and non-instructional)
(f) Work environment (internal and external to the school)
(g) Internal communications
(h) External communications
(i) Capital resources
(j) Governance (those who have authority over the school)
(k) Operational logistics
These 11 themes and their associated sub-themes set the framework for the development of a comprehensive set of virtual school and online education program leadership standards.
Charmaz, K. (2009). Constructing grounded theory. London: Sage Publications.
Reflection Point – I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. ~Ralph Nader