UB Workshop to Examine Changes in School Leadership

By Mary Cochrane

Release Date: July 6, 2006

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Doesn't anyone want to be a school superintendent anymore?

Not according to several experts who will speak on July 14 at a program on "The Changing Face of School Leadership: Implications for Preparation and Practice" sponsored by the Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo. The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Room 110 of Knox Lecture Hall on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

In New York state, "there is a real concern about an impending shortage of school superintendents," according to Stephen L. Jacobson, professor of educational leadership and policy. "School administrators are happy to take jobs up to the role of assistant superintendent, but they don't want to be superintendents."

The reason? Intense public scrutiny and the glare of the limelight, Jacobson said.

"There are competent people out there who are saying 'I don't want that job.' I'm not going to put myself out on the line publicly as a superintendent. Or, they themselves are willing to do the job, but they don't want to put their families into the limelight," he said. "So the pool of candidates is getting thinner."

Joseph Murphy of Vanderbilt University, who Jacobson describes as one of the top five "most prominent voices in the world" on the subject of school leadership, will be keynote speaker for the workshop, which is sponsored by the Willower Family Fund, the GSE Educational Outreach Network and the UCEA Center for the Study of School Site Leadership.

Murphy has authored or co-authored 13 books and 200 articles on school improvement, while serving as an administrator at the school, district and state levels, including an appointment as the executive assistant to the chief deputy superintendent of public instruction in California. His most recent appointment was as the founding president of the Ohio Principals' Leadership Academy. At the university level, he has served as department chair and associate dean. He also has been a faculty member at the

University of Illinois and The Ohio State University, where he was the William Ray Flesher Professor of Education.

Joining Murphy will be Robert Bennett, chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents who is a distinguished lecturer in policy and politics in education at Niagara University and senior policy advisor to GSE dean Mary Gresham. Other panelists include Kenneth Leithwood, a University of Toronto professor of educational leadership and policy whose writings on the subject are respected worldwide; Folasade Oladele, associate superintendent of the Buffalo Public Schools, and Howard S. Smith, superintendent of Williamsville Central Schools.

Cost is $50, which includes registration and refreshments. To register, call (716) 645-6642 or email ksausner@buffalo.edu. Visit http://www.gse.buffalo.edu/eon/continuinged/ for more information.