Principal as Gatekeeper - A Discussion Paper on Educational Leadership

Astrid Helene Kendrick


Abstract: The focal point of school leadership and administration has been largely on the singular person – the school principal. This discussion paper reconsiders and troubles the gatekeeping role of the school principal in the context of popular media representations of school administration, and it presents alternative leadership structures found in local and global sources. It intends to encourage conversation about the role of democratic leadership in public schooling. The question, “What if we considered school leadership as a representative of democratic function rather than a person?” is the foundation for discussion in this paper. While this paper suggests alternative leadership paradigms exist, it concludes that the first step to democratizing the principal role is to develop the enlightened gatekeeper within current systems. 


school leadership; principal; gatekeeper

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Last updated November 2 2018