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What Makes a Successful Charter School Leader?

Updated: Mar 7, 2021

Charter schools are a genuine community effort. While they are often founded by parents, charter schools also require strong support from teachers, administrators, and community members. All of these diverse stakeholders are held together by the shared vision of the school and by effective leadership. Leaders come in many forms in charter schools, so when I use this term, I mean anyone who steps into decision-making roles. This can refer to board members, administrators, teacher-leaders, or parent volunteers.

All of these diverse stakeholders are held together by the shared vision of the school and by effective leadership.

But what makes a successful charter school leader? What are the personal qualities, skills, and values that help him or her become the leader that others will follow?

Based on my research and experience with charter schools, I believe the following qualities are most likely to make a successful charter school leader:

  • Relentless commitment to the vision of the school

  • Laser-like focus on student outcomes

  • Continuous desire to learn

  • Evident respect for all stakeholders and ability to communicate effectively with them

  • Ability to understand the legal, financial, and policy requirements of public schools and small business management

  • Ability to translate the vision of the school into practical plans and policies, and the fortitude to ensure these are carried out

  • Experience and skills that contribute to the success of the school

  • Resilience, which I define as the deep belief that a solution can be found to any challenge


How can  you create the vision and lead your school to meet its goals?  Click here to grab your FREE copy of my eBook, "Leadership Essentials," packed with practical information for anyone thinking about starting a new charter school. 


Do you have these qualities? Are you feeling successful in your leadership? If you are, fantastic! Let us hear your story! If you are not there yet, the good news is that you can get there. No one is born with all of these traits. They are a choice you can make or a skill you can learn. You can be the leader your school needs. What will you do today to bring you closer to that goal? Let us know what you think!

Please share your comments below and help build a community of learners and leaders. Thank you!


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Peggy Downs works with school leaders who want to leverage grants to dramatically increase funding, impact, and credibility for their schools. More info and a ton of free resources are waiting for you at: Like what you see?

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