Leaving a position as a classroom teacher and moving into an administrative role, I never expected that “Innovation” would end up being such an often discussed concept in education and a much sought after ideal.
If we talk about Innovation in the technological sense, my time in education (16 years) has been a time ripe with technological advances. I remember being considered an “Innovative” teacher at the turn of the century because I used webquests (I chuckle as I write that considering the tools we have now). However, even today, many teachers seem to use technological advances in ways that simply replace other tools (like power point instead of overheads), which I would argue is not really innovation, since it is not “something new introduced” (dictionary.com).
Being Innovative as a leader can be interpreted in many ways. Is it a school leader who herself uses social media tools to communicate with families and the community? Is it the school leader who promotes the use of technological tools among her instructors?
I would argue that the Innovation for a school leader is demonstrated through a desire to think outside of a regular set of ideas to solve a problem or improve student learning. It may involve technology; it my not. But in my mind, it ALWAYS involves creative thinking and integrated approaches to problem solving. This mindset and the actions that demonstrate such a mindset are a hallmark of an innovative educational leader.