Discuss and analyze the challenges faced by the contemporary Catholic School leader in balancing the educational mission of the Church and the expectations of an increasingly compliance-focused and standards-based society. Refer to critical documents (from both Church and State) that attest to these challenges.
There is a growing realization of the significant impact that an educational leader may have on leading schools and educational change (Shahid, 2011). This awareness relates to virtually all schooling systems and varied educational contexts, with the core responsibilities of a school leader oriented towards improving teaching and student learning (Spillane, 2004). Successful leadership, regardless of the educational environment in which it is expressed, has been attributed to principals or school leaders who are perceived as playing a crucial role in mobilizing teachers towards enhancing progressive learning opportunities for students (Barth, 2001; Lunenburg & Ornstein, 2004).
A considerable degree of interest and research has explored the imperative role school leaders across the range of diverse systems play in continuously transforming schools into effective learning environments (Christie & Limerick, 2004; Dubrin & Daglish, 2003; Golanda, 1991: McNaulty, Marzano & Waters, 2001) Though these insights from leading international researchers are relevant to effective leadership in religious schools, they are not completely sufficient for leaders of Catholic schools. Catholic schools have special characteristics of their own. Leading in a Catholic school context means that the formation of effective leadership requires the consideration of a myriad of Church and evangelization-related issues in addition to those operational elements that are common to all schools (Chapman & Buchanan, 2012).
In an era of rapid economic, social, religious and cultural change, there is a plethora of challenges for leadership in Catholic schools. The advent of the 21st century witnessed society entering an inception period abundant with both possibilities and perils for its future. Challenges and opportunities arise from such movements as globalization, knowledge explosion, information technology, widening gap between the rich and poor, environmental concerns and spiritual quests.
As well as taking appropriate action to ensure the school’s operations and activities are reflective of the multicultural and pluralistic dimension of modern Australian society, Catholic school leaders have the added responsibility of ensuring the emphasis of the religious domain and overall Catholic character and ethos across all aspects of school life. Leaders in Catholic schools are required to exercise various dimensions of leadership distinct from those generally required of public or state school leaders. Changes in the Church, parish life and organization are having impacts on the exercise of such religious and spiritual leadership in all Catholic...