The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents


Johanna Duncan-Poitier





Higher Education and Professional Practice


Educational Leadership Initiative – Update


January 3, 2005




To Implement Policy


Goal 3








          The traditional roles and responsibilities of school and district level administrative and supervisory leaders have evolved over the last several years given the increased focus on instruction, standards and accountability. Educational leaders play a critical role in managing a more complex and diverse environment where all students are expected to learn and where high learning standards set the vision of educational success for all students. In response to this need and challenge, the Board of Regents and Department sponsored a series of forums and regional conferences involving over 3,000 leaders in education, the private sector and community organizations, in the late 1990’s, around the state to discuss school leadership. Following those forums, the Board of Regents and the Commissioner commissioned a Blue Ribbon Panel in 1998 to review school leadership in New York and throughout the nation.  In October 2001, the Panel offered three major recommendations:



The purpose of this item is to provide an update on the significant progress achieved to date on the implementation of the Regents leadership policy related to higher education preparation and the next steps underway.



Developing Effective School Leaders in New York State



School leaders need extraordinary skills to provide effective leadership in our diverse school environments. After extensive discussion with field leaders, the Blue Ribbon Panel on School Leadership crafted a definition of the knowledge and skills required of school leaders that form the foundation of New York’s leadership development effort.  Those nine essential knowledge and skills are:


  1. Leaders know and understand what it means and what it takes to be a leader.

Leadership is the act of identifying important goals and then motivating and enabling others to devote themselves and all necessary resources to achievement. It includes summoning one’s self and others to learn and adapt to the new situation represented by the goal.


  1. Leaders have a vision for schools that they constantly share and promote.

Leaders have a vision of the ideal, can articulate this vision to any audience, and work diligently to make it a reality. Leaders also know how to build upon and sustain a vision that preceded them.


  1. Leaders communicate clearly and effectively.

Leaders possess effective writing and presentation skills. They express themselves clearly, and are confident and capable of responding to the hard questions in a public forum. They are also direct and precise questioners, always seeking understanding.


  1. Leaders collaborate and cooperate with others.

Leaders communicate high expectations and provide accurate information to foster understanding and to maintain trust and confidence.  Leaders reach out to others for support and assistance, build partnerships, secure resources, and share credit for success and accomplishments.  School leaders manage change through effective relationships with school boards.


  1. Leaders persevere and take the “long view.”

Leaders build institutions that endure. They “stay the course,” maintain focus, anticipate and work to overcome resistance. They create capacity within the organization to achieve and sustain its vision.


  1. Leaders support, develop and nurture staff.

Leaders set a standard for ethical behavior. They seek diverse perspectives and alternative points-of view. They encourage initiative, innovation, collaboration, and a strong work ethic. Leaders expect and provide opportunities for staff to engage in continuous personal and professional growth.  They recognize individual talents and assign responsibility and authority for specific tasks. Leaders celebrate accomplishments.  They identify recruit, mentor, and promote potential leaders.


  1. Leaders hold themselves and others responsible and accountable.

Leaders embrace and adhere to comprehensive planning that improves the organization. They use data to determine the present state of the organization, identify root cause problems, propose solutions, and validate accomplishments.  Leaders respect responsibility and accountability and manage resources effectively and efficiently.  They require staff to establish and meet clear indicators of success. Leaders in education also know and understand good pedagogy and effective classroom practices and support sustained professional development.  They recognize the importance of learning standards and significance of assessments.


  1. Leaders never stop learning and honing their skills.

Leaders are introspective and reflective. Leaders ask questions and seek answers. Leaders in education are familiar with current research and best practice, not only in education, but also in other related fields.  They maintain a personal plan for self-improvement and continuous learning, and balance their professional and personal lives, making time for other interests.


  1. Leaders have the courage to take informed risks.

Leaders embrace informed, planned change and recognize that everyone may not support change.  Leaders work to win support and are willing to take action in support of their vision even in the face of opposition.


The Regents asked Department staff to develop draft regulatory language to incorporate the essential knowledge and skills for effective school leadership into the educational preparation and certification standards for future administrative and supervisory school leaders.  Department staff worked extensively with all sectors of the education community on preliminary draft language for a new regulation on the preparation of educational leaders which was released in December of 2002. 


During January and February of 2003, the Regents and Department staff held a series of “public forums” around the State to facilitate open discussion and comment on the preliminary draft leadership regulation. Hundreds of educators from both the elementary and secondary and higher education sectors attended these forums. The Regents Higher Education and Professional Practices Committee carefully considered the extensive public comments and recommendations received at the public forums and revised the preliminary draft regulatory language on the standards for the preparation of educational leaders by colleges and universities at its meetings in March and April 2003.  After significant additional consideration and communication with the education community, in July 2003, the Board of Regents adopted new standards in Part 52 of the Commissioner’s Regulations for the education and training of educational leaders. These new standards included a number of important improvements to the way leaders were previously prepared:


·       the explicit incorporation of the nine essential knowledge and skills for effective school leadership into the required standards for all college and university programs approved by the Department for the preparation of certified school district leaders, school building leaders and school district business leaders;


·       a requirement that all future candidates for educational leadership positions be required to take and pass new certification assessments designed to verify their acquisition of the nine essential knowledge and skills for effective school leadership; and


·       a professional development requirement for holders of educational leadership certificates.


From July 2003 until the present, Education Department staff in the Office of Higher Education have worked extensively with colleges and universities around the State interested in offering these new leadership programs.   The Department has registered 116 educational leadership programs consistent with the new standards. 



Number of Educational Leadership Programs

in Colleges and Universities Statewide







Number of CUNY Institutions with Programs

Total Number of CUNY Programs

Number of SUNY Institutions with Programs

Total Number of SUNY Programs

Number of

Independent Institutions with Programs

Total Number of Programs at Independent Institutions

Number of Institutions Statewide with Programs

Total Number of Programs Statewide

School Building Leader










School District Leader










School District Business Leader






















The Department has been working closely with the National Evaluation Systems (NES), our contract partner for the administration of New York’s teacher certification examinations, to develop the new certification examination that will be required for the certification of educational leaders. The Department and NES identified and contacted recognized educational leaders from around the State to invite them to participate on three new Assessment Advisory Committees to help create the new educational leadership examinations.  These Assessment Advisory Committees met in May 2004 to discuss the frameworks for the new educational leadership certification examinations for school district leaders (superintendents), school building leaders (principals) and school district business leaders. 


During the fall of 2004, NES did extensive field surveys with administrative and supervisory educational leaders at the school district level as well as deans and professors at colleges and universities involved in the preparation of educational leaders to verify the necessary job skills required for effective educational leaders.  Over the course of 2005, these Assessment Advisory Committees are scheduled to work with the Department and NES to develop the specific questions for the new educational leadership certificate examinations.  NES plans to field-test these new examinations in the winter and spring 2006.  The first actual administrations of the new educational leadership exams would be scheduled for the summer of 2006.


In the coming months, the Board of Regents will be reviewing the next set of regulations that set out the specific requirements for the certification of administrative and supervisory educational leaders.   Department staff will be working with the Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching (PSPB), and all sectors of the education community throughout the winter of 2005 to develop language for the new Part 80 regulation which will establish certification standards for educational leaders consistent with the Part 52 standards previously approved by the Regents for the training of educational leaders by institutions of higher education.


          We are scheduled to bring a preliminary draft version of the new certification requirements for educational leaders to the Regents’ Higher Education and Professional Practices Committee for discussion in the spring of 2005, and approval in the fall of 2005, after providing multiple opportunities for the Board of Regents and the field to discuss and revise the draft regulation.  


A timeline, summarizing the information discussed in this update about the accomplishments to date and the remaining steps over the next 18 months to complete the implementation of the Regents educational leadership initiative, is attached.







Implementation of Regents Initiative for the Preparation of School Leaders


Chronology of Actions and Next Steps