Transforming curriculum leadership: vice principals in independent Christian elementary schools /
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The literature on the vice principalship characterizes the position as one filled with clerical record keeping and student discipline and paints a picture of role conflict and general discontent. Research suggests that vice principals desire to take on a more significant role, specifically a role in curriculum leadership. Using open-ended interviews, a focus group interview, document analysis, and my research journal, I have explored the work ofa group of vice principals who have taken on the role of curriculum leader in independent Christian elementary schools in Ontario. When asked to explain their understanding of curriculum, the participants referred to written programs of study. However, their leadership activities reveal a broader understanding of curriculum as something that is in fact dynamic in nature. This leadership is enabled and shaped by their middle position on staff that combines the authority of an administrator and the credibility of a teacher. Although this dual identity creates tension, it also provides opportunities for genuine curriculum leadership. As middle leaders, the participants in this study often pull together or connect elements of the curriculum (teachers, principals, and programs) that have become separated. Such connective leadership is characterized by transformational (Van Brummelen, 2002) tendencies. This research suggests that the further along the continuum one goes from the understanding of curriculum as planned (Eisner, 1994) to acknowledging a lived curriculum (Aoki, 1993), the more transformational one's leadership style becomes.