Leading for Results requires making “fundamental choices” and commitments

Leading for Results means putting students at the center of our work: A student at Bessie Hoffman Multiage Elementary School in the Lincoln Consolidated School District in Michigan (Photo: Dennis Sparks)

I made a “fundamental choice” (a basic decision that affects many other decisions) a decade or two ago that focuses and motivates my Leading for Results work: I want to do everything I can to ensure that all students in all classrooms experience quality learning every day and are surrounded by supportive relationships. For that to happen, I believe, it’s essential that all teachers experience team-based learning and collaboration as part of their daily work within a culture of continuous improvement.

That is why I am passionately committed to the quality of school and district leadership—it is leadership that determines whether quality learning occurs for all students in all classroom or is reserved for the privileged few in the classrooms of a school’s best teachers.

Likewise, that is why I am committed to the development of high-performance school cultures, which are essential to the continuous improvement of teaching and learning in all classrooms. I want all leaders to co-create with their school communities cultures of integrity, trust, and interpersonal accountability.

I am committed to the presence of teamwork in every educator’s work life—teachers, principals, district administrators, and school boards. Therefore, I want all leaders to be part of leadership teams in which they continuously improve their leadership skills and performance.

It is because of these commitments that I have created this blog for schools leaders. My intended audience is leaders who are serious about improving teaching and learning for the benefit of all students and who believe their own learning is essential to achieving it.

I want to be forthright about my goal—to influence what you believe, understand, say, and do for the benefit of all your students and the school community as a whole. That doesn’t mean, however, that I want you to mimic what I believe or think, but rather to encourage you to identity the beliefs, ideas, and behaviors that will enable you to successfully lead your unique school community in the achievement of its most important goals.

You can help me realize the commitments I’ve describe above by subscribing to this blog, if you haven’t done so already, and by recommending it to colleagues.

To strengthen your leadership practice

In this post I’ve explained my fundamental choice and commitments to strengthening the leadership of district administrators, principals, and teacher leaders.

To what overarching purposes are you committed in your work? What gets you up each morning to do your challenging job?

Extend your leadership community by sharing your experiences with others in the comment section of this blog and by raising questions that may be addressed in future posts.

5 Responses to “Leading for Results requires making “fundamental choices” and commitments”


  1. 1 Norma January 18, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Everyday the thing “that gets me up” in the morning is believing that everything that we do with children makes a difference, so we need to make sure that we do our best! We give our best attitude, we give our best lesson plans, we give our best understanding, we give our best selves. It can be exhilaratingly exhausting, but it is also rejuvenating. This best can be practised at first then it will become part of what we do everyday…

  2. 2 Kent Peterson January 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Commitment is truly key to successful school leadership–by everyone. The questions at the end are really useful and to the point. I would add something Art Rainwater said: Ask yourself “What are your non-negotiables? What would you quit your job for if you were asked to do them or goals you were told to drop?”

    Without commitment leaders can become simple technicians–when they should be cultural leaders.


  1. 1 LFR’s Quotation of the Week: The Power of Fundamental Choice « Leading for Results—Dennis Sparks' Blog Trackback on March 1, 2010 at 9:42 pm
  2. 2 Leaders create energy within school communities « Leading for Results—Dennis Sparks' Blog Trackback on March 4, 2010 at 4:26 am
  3. 3 What’s most important to me now? « Leading for Results—Dennis Sparks' Blog Trackback on May 26, 2010 at 4:10 am

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