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Karen Seashore is lead researcher in the newly released study "Learning from Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning." The evidence from the largest study of the effects of leadership on student learning is clear, Seashore says.

Shared leadership between school principals and teachers improves student learning, U of M expert says

September 1, 2010

As thousands of K-12 students head back into the classroom this month, student achievement will be top of mind. A recent University of Minnesota study found that school leadership plays a key role in student learning success. An expert who can discuss the importance of school leadership is:

Karen Seashore, a professor in the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development

Seashore is lead researcher in the newly released study "Learning from Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning." The evidence from the largest study of the effects of leadership on student learning is clear, Seashore says.

"School districts that create collaborative leadership environments for their administrators have an impact on principals, and principals who share leadership with their teachers have an impact on classrooms," she says.

"Superintendents and principals don't teach, but shared leadership with teachers stimulates the development of stronger commitments and innovative initiatives on the part of teachers, which does result in strong instruction," Seashore says.

School districts face challenges when it comes to implementing collaborative leadership.

"Most federal and state policies seem to be based on a model of heroic leadership, in which a single individual in an authoritative position can "turn around" a school or district," Seashore says.

Another critical factor is the rigidity of school schedules, which often make is difficult or impossible for teachers who need or want to work together to meet regularly, she says.

To interview Seashore, contact Jeff Falk, University News Service, jfalk@umn.edu or (612) 626-1720; or Diane Cormany, College of Education and Human Development, dcormany@umn.edu or (612) 626-5650.

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit www.unews.umn.edu. Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

Tags: College of Education and Human Development

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