The Prince and the Principal The Prince and the Principal To win the support of seven or eight teachers at Florence Elementary School, Betty Tyler demonstrated leadership that the teachers found admirable. She challenged the status quo, especially beginning with things that nobody else dared. One of these things was challenging how the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act Chapter 1 Funds were budgeted and used. Contrary to the way things were done before her coming, Tyler encouraged teachers to take part in the Florence’s needs assessment. She encouraged them to participate in improving the school.
This group of teachers must have admired Tyler’s initiative of inviting the participation of teachers in policymaking (Shouse et. al., 1993). Her courage to stand up to Anthony, the assistant principal, and the complaining parents must have impressed them too. Tyler advised some of the teachers whom she noticed supported her to attend the summer’s citywide Administration Academy. Tyler advised them to attend the academy in order to give them a chance to be imparted with a sense of leadership. It is after these teachers came back from the academy that they helped Tyler scrub away graffiti and decorate walls and bulletin board.
Together with these teachers, Tyler endeavored to Florence’s agenda. The brought other teachers new teaching materials from the Administration Academy (Machiavelli, 1998). To form “The Team” that helped her take the power of the school from the “Old Guard, ” Tyler acted on the district supervisor’s advice. The district supervisor advised Tyler to read Machiavelli’ The Prince and thereafter, she mobilized the teachers who supported her for action. After, reading the book, Tyler called the teachers who supported her and organized for a meeting before the New Year in one of the teacher’s (Ray Harshaw) place.
Tyler talked to these teachers with determination and they agreed to meet. This meeting provided a platform for these teachers to speak out their feelings and frustrations about the scenario at Florence (Fiore, 2004). In a second meeting in a restaurant with these teachers, Tyler talked about power and how they could take back the school’s power from the “Old Guard”. This meeting allowed “The Team” to set goals, ideas and identify their targets.
They agreed to unite in order to counter the “Old Guard’s “community. ” They noted that they needed to shake “Old Guard’s” influence on the Parent’s Advisory Council, PTA and the teachers’ union. Making Florence academically stimulating to students was the team’s mission. To expand their power base beyond Florence, Tyler suggested that they needed to outnumber their opposition on the PAC and PTA by reaching out to parents (Shouse et. al., 1993). The members agreed to the mission of “the team” cognizant of the pressures involved.
To obtain the support of parents in PAC, they distributed fliers calling for the participation of parents in budgeting for ECIA Chapter One funds. The team also initiated the election of a teachers’ union representative in which one member of the team won. It lobbied for support to close campus at lunchtime and succeeded. It got support from the district superintendent who transferred teachers opposed to Tyler. Tyler got power strong enough to make some teachers who were opposed to her either resign or transfer (Machiavelli, 1998). Reference Fiore, D.
J. (2004). Introduction to educational administration: Standards, theories, and practice. Larchmont, NY: Eye On Education. Machiavelli, N., & Mansfield, H. C. (1998). The prince. Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press. Shouse, Roger, Ford, Darryl, Kleine-Kracht, Paula & Ryan, Susan. (1993). The Prince and the Principal. University of Chicago.