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Outstanding School Leaders

Updated: Aug 21, 2022

Synonyms for Standards: guidelines, norms, yardsticks, benchmarks, gauges, measures, criteria, guides, touchstones, models, patterns, examples, exemplars, paradigms, ideals, archetypes, specifications, requirements, rules, principles, laws.


When one runs through the list of synonyms for standards, it is clear that this word is complex and encompasses a plethora of concepts, which schools and their outstanding leaders should strive to exemplify.


Outstanding school leaders should birth a paradigm shift in the minds of educators who walk through their doors; they should have veteran teachers who come to them and share their amazement at the passionate, 21st century approach to the delivery of the school’s chosen curriculum. They should provide learning guidelines as their students advance on their individual learning journeys. The benchmarks in the chosen curriculum should allow for differentiated learning and teaching, such that the learning needs of all their students are addressed. In outstanding schools, every student is able to make measurable progress, against the set benchmarks.


Outstanding school leaders do not believe in the bandwagon approach to education, especially in this day and age where the archetypes of traditional white-collar jobs are giving way to innovative, creative models. They should present ideals such as Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development (SMSC), Leadership, and Empathy; soft skill lessons which will empower all students to be exemplars of good citizenship in an environment where principles and the rule of law are often bypassed by the adults who should be their yardsticks. Via these soft skill lessons, norms of collaboration are established, and school rules are reinforced, indirectly teaching the students respect for rules governing nations.


As outstanding school leaders believe in the uniqueness of every student, their specifications are fluid; they guide and encourage the growth of the outliers: students who can use their internally-developed-success-criteria to gauge their potential and to self actualize as well as those who need encouragement to achieve. While patterns of success are replicated, these school leaders are open to innovation at all levels within their schools.


Outstanding school leaders understand that value-add should be the touchstone of all learning organizations; they are proud of the value they add to their students and not simply of the outstanding reports at the end of each term. They recognize and celebrate progress; they acknowledge and appreciate growth; they promote drive to reach high levels of attainment, and they see healthy development in all learning areas.


I am humbled to be part of this elect group of educators who truly make a difference in the lives of their students.


Dr. Joy Isa



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