Leadership development policies and programs for preparing Catholic elementary school lay principals in three United States dioceses (1989--1994)

James Shafi, Fordham University

Abstract

This study explored leadership development initiatives practiced by three diocesan Catholic Education Offices in the United States for preparing lay principals for Catholic elementary schools. The rapid transition in the leadership of Catholic schools from religious to lay principals, and the inadequate development and formation of lay principals in the unique ethos, mission, and vision of the Catholic school systems, served as the backdrop to the study.^ Theoretical works of Burns, D'Orsa, Fowler, Schlechty and Whitford, Sergiovanni, Starratt, and Walsh identified five development needs of Catholic school principals: domains of leadership, functions of leadership, approaches to leadership, ethics of leadership, and faith stages of leadership.^ Data from documents on leadership development policies and programs; and from interviews of Catholic Education Office superintendents/associate superintendents, and those of current/prospective lay principals of Catholic elementary schools were utilized to construct profiles of leadership development initiatives of the three dioceses.^ The study compared expectations of policies and programs with levels of program efficacy in developing current/prospective lay principals in components of leadership development, identified areas of strengths and weaknesses, and recommended actions needed to enhance efficacies of the current leadership development initiatives of the three dioceses.^ The study found that although the majority of the program participants were current or prospective lay principals of Catholic elementary schools, lay leadership development was not the main focus of leadership development policies and programs. This betrayed an ambivalent approach toward the need for lay leadership development.^ The study explored themes that emerged from the study on the subject of lay leadership development and suggested a generic policy model for lay leadership development for Catholic schools. The model is founded on five propositions: (a) overcome the ambivalence in the Catholic school system about lay leadership; (b) empower the lay principal; (c) restructure, in some cases, diocesan educational leadership development policies and programs; (d) prepare lay principals through internships; and (e) establish and institutionalize a change process in the Catholic school system to facilitate smooth leadership transitions from religious to lay principals. The study recommended seven areas for further research into the subject of lay leadership development for Catholic schools. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Religious|Education, Teacher Training|Education, Philosophy of

Recommended Citation

James Shafi, "Leadership development policies and programs for preparing Catholic elementary school lay principals in three United States dioceses (1989--1994)" (January 1, 1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9708254.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9708254

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