This paper reports on the initial stages of research into the strategic leadership of primary school principals in New South Wales. Strategic leadership, a leadership dimension present in all leadership theories and perspectives, holds the key to effectively linking the actions of today with the future. This study draws on a theoretical framework derived from a comprehensive study undertaken in the United Kingdom by the National College for School Leadership and applies that through a demographic lens to the NSW context. The findings suggest that the very concept of strategy remains elusive to scholars and practitioners alike. Researchers have tended to focus on planning as the sole source of strategy and consequently practitioners have been led to believe that this is their strategic role. This paper argues that by broadening our understanding of the concept of strategy, practitioners and scholars can gain greater insight into the strategic role of the educational leader. A more holistic understanding of the strategic dimension of educational leadership will provide leadership theorists, systemic authorities, and practitioners – the ones who grapple with enormous complexities posed by strategic leadership with a knowledge and understanding of strategic leadership that may hold promise to lead more positively into the future.
Directions for Catholic Educational Leadership in the 21st Century: The Vision, Challenges and Reality Conference, 2007, Proceedings of the 2007 International Conference on Catholic Education Leadership (Sydney 01-01 August, 2007)