Postprint version. Published in Educational Administration Quarterly, Volume 38, Issue 2, April 1, 2002, pages 130-136. Copyright © 2002 by University Council for Educational Administration. The definitive version is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0013161X02382002.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author George Petersen was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The fall calendar of 2001 was awash in meetings focused on the future of educational leadership. In August of 2001, the Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds sponsored a conference on educational leadership at Manitou Springs, Colorado. In September, the National Commission for the Advancement of Educational Leadership Preparation (NCAELP) planned to hold a meeting on the future of educational leadership preparation,1 and in October, the Danforth Foundation, the Land Grant Deans and Affiliated Private Institutions organization, and the U.S. Department of Education focused meetings around educational leadership. Each of these organizations was proactively responding to the increasingly urgent calls for changes in the way educational leadership is practiced and in how educational leaders are prepared and developed (Jackson & Kelley, 2002 [this issue]; Young, Petersen, & Short, 2002 [this issue]).
This special issue includes six articles solicited by the NCAELP as thinking pieces for discussion. These articles provided critical examinations of the field of educational administration, including the practice of educational leadership, the preparation and development of educational leaders, the evaluation of programs, and the context within which practice, preparation, and development take place. The special issue also includes two commentary pieces. One commentary, written by Nelda Cambron-McCabe and Luvern L. Cunningham, represents the perspective of educational leadership faculty members who have been involved in reform efforts over the past few decades. The second commentary provides a national policy lens from Mike Usdan, an individual who has worked “inside the beltway” on leadership issues for years.
The purpose of this special issue is threefold. One purpose is the articulation and dissemination of information on the NCAELP with our colleagues and those interested in moving our profession forward. A second purpose is to share articles that provide valuable examinations of the current status of our field. The third and final purpose is to encourage a generative discussion on the future of our field, a discussion that has the power to support the reforms needed in educational leadership preparation and professional development.