The goal of the educational administrator is to keep the school's overall process flowing smoothly, making decisions that facilitate successful student learning. The administrator identifies and articulates a school's mission and goals and makes them happen by implementing programs, delegating tasks and allocating resources. The effective leader is visionary, collaborative and passionate about the field of educational administration.
Educational administration is the study and practice of managing the resources, tasks and communications involved in running a school. The school administration definition applies to leadership of private or public institutions of learning.
Roles of Educational Administrators
The top administrator, whether she's called superintendent, head of school, president or principal, is the institution's equivalent of a chief executive officer in business. She takes an active role in personnel issues, budget decisions, curriculum planning and setting policy that staff and students will abide by. Administrators are responsible for setting the institution's tone and serve as its public face. School districts, colleges and universities often employ assistant administrators to be responsible for budget, curriculum and personnel. Still other educational administrators work in research and policy-making roles in governmental and private departments and organizations where students typically never set foot.
Educational Administration Degrees
Typically, an educational administrator will need an advanced educational administration degree such as a Master of Education, Master of Arts in Educational Leadership or a Doctor of Education. At the master's in administration level, coursework typically includes the sociology and law of education, educational research, curricular and instructional strategies and leadership and management skills. Earning a doctoral degree requires advanced study in leadership; educational theory, practice and planning; supervisory skills; research and statistics; and organizational dynamics.
Styles of Educational Administration
Educational researchers have devoted considerable effort to defining and analyzing what makes an effective administrator. Effectiveness is measured using research tools such as school climate surveys and institutional health assessments. Educational leadership focuses on different types of administrative styles. The authoritarian leader is unemotional and runs a tight ship using coercive tactics. Participative leaders emphasize collegiality and collaboration. Transactional leaders strive for a happy middle ground between the two, and transformational leaders who focus on servant leadership and empowerment. No definitive evidence exits proving that one of these styles works better than all of the others; what matters is a good fit between the administrator and the institution's key stakeholders.
Leaderships Careers in Education
Many a teacher takes a look at the way things are being run and either admires or detests it so much that he decides to go for that master's and become a decision maker. To make this decision less difficult, practically speaking, many graduate programs are designed to accommodate the needs of working teachers seeking senior level careers in education. Aspiring educational administrators need to prepare themselves for long days during which they'll handle a variety of problems and successes and be the one held responsible in good times and bad. It's a job for problem solvers with superb time management skills.
Anne Pyburn Craig has written for a range of regional and local publications ranging from in-depth local investigative journalism to parenting, business, real estate and green building publications. She frequently writes tourism and lifestyle articles for chamber of commerce publications and is a respected book reviewer.