Education’s leadership void

Matthew Stone’s excellent piece in the November 14 Bangor Daily News  titled: How Maine Hurt Public Education by Trying to Reform It highlights the trouble school systems get into when they have the wrong leaders.

With the right leaders Maine’s schools could be so much better than they are now. Unfortunately, however, what we far too often see in this state are superintendents and principals and school board presidents who are determined to follow mandates from Augusta – no matter how silly and mediocre and short-lived these may be.

What we need as leaders instead are brave intellectual giants whose passions for preserving our democracy through education, and developing the power of individual teachers and students, guide them. We need leaders who are not cowed by Augusta’s changeable, unfunded mandates.

Followers should not be our education systems’ leaders. We need leaders who are clear-sighted and unafraid to question authority. In my entire career in Maine I have rarely found such a leader. This is unfortunate for our students, and for our state. Can this leadership void turn around?


Kathreen Harrison

About Kathreen Harrison

Kathreen Harrison is a public school teacher in Maine. She has a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College. She has worked in a variety of schools in New York and Maine in a number of capacities – French teacher, gifted and talented teacher, elementary school teacher, and curriculum coordinator for island schools. She has lived in Maine for 20 years and has a particular interest in school reform.