Excellence in leadership: demands on the professional school principal

  • RJ Botha


A professional school principal is the educational leader and manager of a school, and is therefore responsible for the work performance of all the people in the school (i.e. both staff and learners). People are the human resources of schools. They use material resources (such as finances, information equipment, and facilities) to produce a "product", namely, the educated learner. One of the principal's jobs (the so-called principalship) is to help the school achieve a high level of performance through the utilisation of all its human and material resources. This is done through effective, and ultimately excellence in, leadership. More simply stated: a principal's job is to get things done by working with and through other people. Studies of effective and excellent principals reveal that the major reason for principals' failure is an inability to deal with people. If the people perform well, the school performs well; if the people do not perform well, the school does not. In this sense, the leadership task of school principals is of the utmost importance and is probably the most important element of the principal's role and/or task. School principals are essential to the success of schools of all types and sizes. This philosophical review of the literature, which draws its conclusions from recent "best practices" with regard to excellence in school leadership and the so-called "new" principalship, is an attempt to raise and answer some questions concerning new demands on the professional principalship in a changing South Africa where educational reform is the norm rather than the exception.

South African Journal of Education Vol.24(3) 2004: 239-243

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2076-3433
print ISSN: 0256-0100