Positive Leadership for Flourishing Schools

Edited by:
Keith D. Walker, University of Saskatchewan
Benjamin Kutsyuruba, Queen’s University
Sabre Cherkowski, University of British Columbia

Published 2021

Most educators will agree that they would love to see each student and staff member in schools flourish. Furthermore, it would be great to see entire communities experience the transformative power of circumstances that feature happy and vibrant learning. However, what does it mean to experience flourishing in schools? What is the role of positive leadership in this process? What can we learn from inquiring into the positive emotional and social aspects of the work of school leaders? Building on our research on flourishing in schools, this book highlights the stories and perspectives of educators and school leaders at all levels of the school system and demonstrate the intricacies of how positive leadership contributes to well-being in schools and encourages flourishing in these schools.

This book aligns with a growing shift in psychology and organizational studies to frame research using phenomena and constructs such as resilience, compassion, hope, efficacy, self-determination and meaningfulness at work and in other areas of life. Research findings from the disciplines of both positive psychology and positive organization studies bring these positive research intelligences into the field of education to study what works in school leadership practices, what goes well, what supports growth, and what brings vitality to people in school organizations. Research in positive psychology contends that attending to the strengths, positive outlooks, habits and mental models, as opposed to a deficit-oriented perspective, is beneficial to increasing subjective wellbeing, by increasing resilience, vitality, and happiness and decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression. How we imagine leading, teaching and learning in schools are implicated in these understandings and help us to contemplate the benefits of focus positive leadership in school organizations. Powerful insights into human inquiry and positive psychology are gained through qualitative study and most of the chapters of this book are grounded in such research.

Importantly, chapters in this book provide a varied repertoire of answers to the question that underpins this shift in research toward a positive organizational perspective: How does positive leadership leverage what works well to instill in each community member a sense of their value and capacity to contribute, encourage wellbeing for all and create school contexts of flourishing? This edited collection provides many examples, invitations, and inspiration for readers to notice in their own contexts in ways that encourage them to shift and grow through moving toward appreciative, strengths-based, positive approaches to teaching, learning, and, especially, leading in all school contexts.

Foreword, Karen Seashore Louis. Introduction: Positive Leadership as a Catalyst for Flourishing Learning Communities, Benjamin Kutsyuruba, Keith D. Walker, and Sabre Cherkowski. SECTION I: POSITIVE LEADERSHIP FOR FLOURISHING IN SCHOOLS. Facilitating Positive Leadership Practice Through Guitars That Rocked the School, Merli Tamtik and Wayne Davies. Placing Wellbeing at the Heart of Education: Embracing Positive Psychology at Appleby College, Tom Karcz and Theresa Blake. A Case Study of a Leadership Approach of Transforming Basic Schools to Flourishing Schools in Urban Inner-City Communities in Jamaica, Olivene Burke, Vanessa Ellis Colley, Darcia Roache, and Kaedi Burke. The Lift: Developing a Positive School Climate and Increasing Student Success in a High-Poverty Urban High School, Jenifer J. Hartman. Accents of Positive School Leadership: Applying Community Frameworks in Educational Spaces, Linsay DeMartino. Positive Leadership: Examining Principals’ Support of Quebec Students’ Academic Perseverance and Achievement, Jocelyne Chevrier. School Administrators’ Engagement in Teacher Induction: The Impact on Early Career Teachers’ Well-being and Success, Benjamin Kutsyuruba, Keith D. Walker, and John Bosica. Concept and Practice of Positive Teacher Leadership, Leke Ivo Jingwa and Keith D. Walker. SECTION II: POSITIVE LEADERSHIP FOR FLOURISHING DISTRICT EXPERIENCES. Building Relationships as a Basis for Reconciliation: The Prairie Spirit Journey, Roberta Campbell-Chudoba, Charmain Laroque, and Bob Bayles. A Flourishing First Nation Community School: Findings From a School Review Process, Daryl F. G. Morrison. Engaging Teachers in Innovation: Positive Leadership from the Bottom-Up, Kevin Schuttinger. Lessons from Leaders: A Decade of Flourishing in Winnipeg School Division’s Teacher Induction and Mentorship Program, Jennifer Watt, Francine Morin, Gail Ruta Fontaine, and Kathy Collis. Positive District Leadership for Flourishing Schools, Jennifer Turner, Meadow Schroeder, and Jim Brandon. SECTION III: POSITIVE LEADERSHIP AND FLOURISHING FOR ALL. Exploring the Sense of Flourishing Among Canada’s Outstanding Principals, Benjamin Kutsyuruba, Terry Kharyati, and Nadia Arghash. Fostering the Development of Resilient School Leaders, Jodi Basch and Bernadette Dos-Santos Mendes. Attributes and Behaviors of Teachers Supporting Student Creativity in Secondary School, Judy Wearing. Autonomy-Supportive Positive Leadership in Rural Schools, Rachel Chamberlain. The Indispensable Principal, Julia Mahfouz and Deborah L. Schussler. Building and Sustaining Positive Relationships Under Awkward Circumstances, Wilfred Beckford. Leadership Infused With Professional Love: A Case of School Improvement Amidst the American Accountability System, Israel Aguilar and Dessynie Edwards. Teacher Leadership in Education for Sustainable Well-Being and Well-Becoming, Michael Link and Thomas Falkenberg. Weetutoskemitowin: Conceptualizing Positive Leadership for Flourishing Schools Through an Indigenous Lens, Pamela Osmond-Johnson and Peter Turner. Concluding Thoughts: Animating Flourishing through the Values of Purpose, Passion, Play, Presence, Sabre Cherkowski, Benjamin Kutsyuruba, and Keith D. Walker. About the Editors.