When I became an educator, I had no desire to become an administrator. After 20 years of serving as a leader in the military, my focus was on teaching my students science. I loved spending time in my classroom and science lab. However, my Principal had other ideas.

Every week, he would ask me the same question concerning school administration. So, what was the question? He would say, “Have you thought about becoming a Principal?” My response was thank you for the vote of confidence; however, I am happy in my classroom. Over the next several minutes, he would explain the importance of good leadership and always end the conversation by reminding me how I could significantly impact students.

As I reflect on those conversations, I am grateful for the encouragement of my Principal. While I loved being in the classroom, as an educational leader, I can significantly impact more students. How? Because I create the conditions for success for our teachers, staff, and students.

Educational leadership refers to the professional practice of leaders or administrators working within academic institutions, guiding and influencing educators to improve learning and other educational processes.

These leaders, often found in roles such as school site leaders, principals, assistant or associate administrators, and even higher education positions like provosts or presidents, play a crucial role in shaping the direction and culture of educational institutions.

The role of educational leaders is more than just managing administrative tasks; they are practitioners who focus on applying knowledge to make a positive difference in the educational system. They collaborate and communicate with diverse communities, building partnerships to promote positive outcomes and setting and meeting transformative goals.

Educational leaders work towards problem-solving by connecting theory to real-world projects and contexts in an evidence-based and relational manner. So, let’s discuss several reasons why educational leadership is essential:

  1. Overcoming Challenges: Educational leaders play a critical role in overcoming challenges faced by educational institutions, such as insufficient budgets, large student-teacher ratios, student poverty, and poor student health. They adopt a solutions-based approach that values innovation and inclusivity, which leads to positive change and growth.
  2. Innovation and Adaptation: Educational leadership fosters innovation in learning methodologies and helps institutions adapt to changing circumstances, like the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, where schools had to pivot to remote learning swiftly.
  3. Improved Educational Programming: Educational leaders focus on improving educational programs by setting curriculum standards, preparing budgets, and implementing school-wide policies. They also work on team building and restructuring efforts to drive positive change.
  4. Inspiring Positive Work Culture: Effective educational leadership inspires a positive work culture that encourages collaboration, inclusivity, and a clear vision of the future. When teachers and staff work in a supportive environment, students benefit from a more enriching educational experience.
  5. Policy Development and Advocacy: Educational leaders are often involved in policy development and reform issues, advocating for better educational systems at the local, state, or national level.

Educational leadership positions can be found at all levels of education, from preschool program directors to university academic deans. They require specialized education, and many educational leaders hold advanced degrees in educational leadership, such as a Master of Educational Leadership or a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.

“Leadership is not about being in charge. It’s about taking care of those in your charge.”

-Simon Sinek

Educational leadership is crucial to improving the educational system by guiding and influencing educators, fostering innovation, and creating positive change to enhance student learning experiences.

Educational leaders contribute to shaping the future of educational institutions and communities by promoting inclusivity, innovation, and positive work culture in pursuit of the common goal of providing quality education to all students.


The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not represent those of my employer or any local, state, or federal government.

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Dr. Kim Moore

About the author

I'm Kim, your Educational Leadership Guide. I equip educational leaders with research-based and experientially learned educational leadership principles and best practices to promote student success.