The sixth principle in the book, Failure is Not an Option is: building sustainable leadership capacity. The need for quality leadership is one of the most pressing issues in education. Leading a charter school is even harder because the leader needs to understand the business side of the school in addition to the standard academic leadership expected in most schools. Further, because charter schools operate in a customer-driven situation, the leaders must be exceptional.
Key to this principle is developing leaders within the school to support the vision and mission. This includes teacher mentors, master teachers, Professional Learning Communities, etc. Effective leadership outlives the leader when the leader leaves because many people are involved in leadership.
Many leaders feel threatened by having strong leaders working for them. Effective leaders develop a strong group of individuals to assist in leading the school. It's important for charter school board members to recognize what kind of leader they employ. The school is more sustainable if the leadership is spread across a number of individuals.
The book says, "The future of leadership must be embedded in the hearts and minds of the many, and not rest on the shoulders of a heroic few." "School leadership is not the sum of its individual leaders, still less its separate principals. School leadership is a system, a culture."
"Distributed leadership means more than delegation. Delegation involves passing on lesser and often unwanted tasks to others. The individual leader decides what will be delegated and to whom. Distributed leadership means creating a culture of initiative and opportunity, in which teachers of all kinds propose new directions, start innovations--perhaps sometimes even challenging and creating difficulties for their leaders in the higher interests of the pupils and the school. In its fullest development, distributed leadership extends beyond the staff to pupils and parents. Distributed leadership gives depth and breadth to the idea and practice of leadership."