COLE: Good leadership important at school, home

By Roger Cole

Morley Stanwood Community School Superintendent


As we continue on with the theme “Building Blocks of High Performing Schools” from the booklet designed and distributed by the Michigan Association of School Boards, we look at chapter three: Effective School Leadership. If you recall from earlier articles, I compared building a high-performing school to building a healthy family. So what does effective school leadership look like? Equally important, what does effective family leadership look like?

Roger Cole, MSCS superintendent

Effective leadership is essential to any organization, especially if that organization has its sights set on improvement – including the family. I could not agree more with the following quote from “Building Blocks of High Performing Schools”:

“High performing schools recognize that no single leader can tackle instructional improvement alone. Instead, leadership is expanded to include principals, teachers, central office staff, teacher leaders and school board members. It is the combined efforts of all these school leaders working toward a common mission and shared goals that lead to a school culture and instructional program that is conducive to student learning and staff professional growth.”

Ok, so what does that mean to us here at Morley Stanwood? To me, it’s pretty simple: we are all in this together. And when I say all, I mean all – this must include parents and families.

Each person and group of stakeholders may have a separate role, but we all work toward the same goals. I’ve always espoused to servant leadership. My philosophy – whether as a teacher to my students or as a principal to my teachers or now as superintendent to my principals – has always been, “My job is to help you do your job better.”

I don’t want to go into a long discussion of what a good leader is. I think we all know. We know what a good, effective leader is and we know what a poor, ineffective leader is. It isn’t any different than knowing what a good role model is and what a bad role model is for our children.

I think the problem in our world today is that sometimes it has become “politically incorrect” to point it out. I don’t agree.

Now, if you notice I use the words “we” and “all” a lot in these articles. I do that on purpose, because this is not just about school leaders. As I’ve mentioned before “we” can’t do this alone. So, parents, I need you to be effective leaders, good parents, good role models. I wrote about this a lot last year in my articles on building healthy assets for children. You can go back and read them on the school website.

Please hear me clearly, being an effective leader in your home doesn’t mean having all the resources in the world. It doesn’t mean having a vast number of gifts under the Christmas tree to give your children or having the ability to take a vacation every year. In fact, it might mean saying “no” on occasion. I had to do that at home myself not long ago. It means setting limits, which is a good thing for children of all ages. On the other hand, it might mean spending time together doing homework or just reading a book.

You and I both want the adults in our children’s lives to be effective leaders and good role models, whether at school or at home. My job is to work on providing them here at school. Parents, your job is to work on providing them at home.


Roger Cole is the superintendent of Morley Stanwood Community Schools. Contact him at


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