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Senior Leaders ’ Views on Leadership Preparation and Succession Strategies in New Zealand: Time for a Career-Related Professionalization Policy and Provisions

By Reynold Macpherson


This research note reports the views of members of a branch of a professional association about their career paths and the appropriateness of preparatory and succession strategies for leaders in New Zealand schools. This sample of 12 “seniors ” was unusual for its relative professional seniority, span of responsibilities and postgraduate qualifications held. With a few points of difference related to their unusual characteristics, these respondents endorsed the provisional findings of two earlier pilots involving 14 secondary principals and 28 neophyte leaders. Their career path data reiterated a general phenomenon of accelerating “stepping stoning ” by leaders across designations without role-specific training prior to appointment, to the point where role mastery tended to coincide with advancement to the next designation. These seniors supported preparatory and succession strategies that address the changing needs of leaders as they construct a career across designations. They preferred strategies that offer trustworthy knowledge about leadership and preparatory training in role-specific skills prior to appointment, as well as forms of on-going direct support in order to mediate the inevitably idiosyncratic learning of leadership “on the job. ” They also proposed additional preparatory strategies: fixed term contracts, temporary placements, cadetships

Year: 2009
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