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Ethical Leadership in Education

Principals and vice-principals have unparalleled influence over school culture and, by extension, the success of its students. Regular review of the AQ guidelines for these roles helps make sure OCTs are prepared to govern and guide effectively and ethically.

By Melissa Campeau
Photo: Ontario College of Teachers

Photo of a large group of people sitting in chairs in a circle looking at one person who is speaking and also sitting down. One person is standing up at the front.
The College hosts year-round focus groups, workshops and open sessions to discuss and refine AQ guidelines.

Joanne Robinson, director of professional learning at the Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC) notes that the organization’s collection of leadership AQ offerings has critical elements in common: the ethical nature of leadership and the importance of being equitable and accessible.

“Leadership is about influence and keeping your eye on the prize — students are the future citizens of the country,” says Robinson. “If you’re thinking that leadership is something you’d like to explore, then its important to understand that it’s not about power and authority, but about influence and collaboration.”

Monique Ménard, OCT, director of education for Conseil scolaire catholique Franco-Nord, helped to develop the recently revised AQ guidelines for the Supervisory Officer’s AQ. First, says Ménard, course participants gain an understanding of how their leadership influences staff and student well-being. Then, the content gives them the tools to lead. “From stakeholders to students, collaboration and communication, equity and inclusion, regulation and staff development, budgeting and establishing system priorities, the complexities of the supervisory officer’s responsibilities and required competencies are all considered in the program content.”

Like all leadership AQs and courses, the Supervisory Officer’s Qualification program supports inquiry-based and anti-oppressive stances. “When leaders start with an equity lens on, it changes decision-making processes that are vital to collaboration and inclusion; this fosters empowerment and engagement,” shares Ménard. “As a service leader the supervisory officer needs to be an ethical model for others.”

AQ Development and Review Process for Highly Specialized Areas

  1. Background research
  2. Literature review
  3. Conversations with key experts in the field
  4. Consultation process with the public, the profession and education partners, including:
    • Consensus workshops
    • Appreciative inquiry
    • Narrative inquiry
    • Focus groups
    • Online questionnaire
    • Facebook discussions
  5. Writing team with members of the profession
  6. Review of the draft AQ guidelines by the Standards of Practice and Education Committee
  7. Provincial validation involving the public, the profession and educational partners
  8. Release of the final AQ guideline to AQ providers

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