There is a nationally recognized need for new approaches to school leadership. Turnover of both principals and teachers is a serious problem for school districts across the country although it is most intense for those serving the poorest and lowest performing students. Theoretically, Servant Leadership (SL) instantiates the universal truth that service to others quenches a spiritual thirst in humans for leading lives of love and virtue while at the same time filling the functional need in modern institutions for staff who are highly engaged, productive and resilient. We seek to conduct a project that will inform the big questions What does it mean to live a life of love and virtue in the context of aspiring and/or practicing 21st century school leaders? Can the SL virtues of humility, gratitude, forgiveness and courage be taught through virtue explicit professional development? How can the explicit cultivation of these virtues be integrated into existing in-service school leader programming such as the Leadership Academy in Character Education (LACE)? This proposal follows a one-year John Templeton Foundation (JTF) funded planning grant that enabled the initiation and pilot test of the Cultivating Virtue in Leaders (CViL) professional development program. The primary goals of the current proposal are 1) the further development of CViL content and components, 2) the integration and pilot test of CViL-enhanced LACE, and 3) to identify and pilot test the evaluation tools necessary for the validation and national scale-up of the new program. The proposed project will deliver an improved approach to school leadership and a replicable program with the potential to positively impact a) spiritual and emotional well-being, b) ability to cope with adversities when they arise, c) work life spillover, as well as d) the successful implementation of comprehensive CE and the creation of a positive school climate.
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