Educational administration is the study and practice of managing the resources, tasks and communications involved in running a school. The goal of the administrator is to keep the school's overall process flowing smoothly, making decisions that facilitate successful education. The administrator identifies and articulates a school's mission and goals and makes them happen by implementing programs, delegating tasks and allocating resources.
Roles of Educational Administrators
The top administrator, whether she's called superintendent, head of school, president or principal, is the institution's equivalent of a chief executive officer in business. She takes an active role in personnel issues, budget decisions, curriculum planning and setting policy that staff and students will abide by. Administrators are responsible for setting the institution's tone and serve as its public face. School districts, colleges and universities often employ assistant administrators to be responsible for budget, curriculum and personnel. Still other educational administrators work in research and policy-making roles in governmental and private departments and organizations where students typically never set foot.
Educational Administration Degrees
Typically, an educational administrator will need at least a master's degree in education, master's degree in educational administration or doctorate in education. At the master's level, coursework typically includes the sociology and law of education, educational research, curricular and instructional strategies and leadership and management skills. Earning a doctoral degree requires advanced study in leadership; educational theory, practice and planning; supervisory skills; research and statistics; and organizational dynamics.
Styles of Educational Administration
Educational researchers have devoted considerable effort to defining and analyzing what makes an effective administrator. Effectiveness is measured using research tools such as school climate surveys and institutional health assessments. The [Encyclopedia of Educational Research and Administration] (http://www.sagepub.com/refbooks/Book226460) published by Sage Research identifies four distinct styles: authoritarian leaders who employ a top-down, unemotional style and run tight ships using coercive tactics, participative leaders who emphasize collegiality and collaboration, transactional leaders who strive for a happy middle ground between the two and transformational leaders who focus on servant leadership and empowerment. There is no definitive proof that one of these styles works better than all of the others; what matters is a good fit between the administrator and the institution's key stakeholders.
Making a Career in Educational Administration
Many a teacher takes a look at the way things are being run and either admires or detests it so much that he decides to go for that master's and become a decision maker, and many graduate programs are designed to accommodate the needs of these working teachers. Aspiring educational administrators need to prepare themselves for long days during which they'll handle a variety of problems and successes and be the one held responsible in good times and bad. It's a job for problem solvers with superb time management skills.
- Learn.org: What Is Educational Leadership
- Slideshare: Importance of Educational Administration
- University of Kansas Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies: Educational Administration: Master's Degree Curriculum in Educational Administration Prepares Leaders
- George Washington University: Ed.D. Educational Administration and Policy Studies -- Education Administration Specialty
- Sage Research: Encyclopedia of Educational Leadership and Administration -- Leadership Styles
- All Education Skills: Education Careers -- School Leadership -- Educational Administration
- Photo Credit Jetta Productions/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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