In Education, Nothing is More Important than Ethics
As an educational leader ethics are intertwined with all that you do, so why not take some time to reflect on ethics as related to your professional responsibilities? Busy school administrators should take time to read Ethical Leadership, by Robert Starratt, every few years as a way to ground and refocus their thoughts and feelings regarding ethics. In a very personal and humanistic way, Dr. Starratt provides the reader with a framework for examining his or her own practice in relation to this topic that is more important than any other. I have often said, “If you don’t have ethics, it doesn’t really matter what else you know”. I still hold true to that statement but, at the same time, acknowledge that ethics are easier to talk about than to carry out in the face of the messy human situations that will always exist in our schools. This book contextualizes ethics and thereby brings discourse down from the sky to a level that school administrators can relate to.
Ethical Leadership outlines three essential and interdependent virtues that are necessary for ethical leadership to be fully realized in relation to school administration: responsibility, authenticity and presence. Recognizing our prioritized responsibilities as human beings and as leaders, being authentic in relationships and interactions with others, and engaging with others by being fully present with them are all choices that are necessary for ethical leadership to play out. Dr. Starratt communicates in a way that is both erudite and realistic. He compassionately points out the gravity of the situations that educational administrators are continually immersed in, and offers a mental paradigm that will help leaders act in ways that are consistent with the values that brought them to the profession in the first place.
Caveat: This book is somewhat esoteric in parts. Also, the narrative account of the school principal’s discussions with his previous college advisor may seem unnecessary to a few readers.