Catherine Nunn Lawless – Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

Catherine Nunn Lawless

  • How leadership in a changing world relates to school success

    Although organizations have existed in some form since the beginning of time, the study and labeling of organizations began during the Industrial Revolution to make people and processes, like machines, more efficient and effective. The evolution of the study theories of organization has continued, which has had an influence over many industries and professions.  David Walonick (1993) succinctly stated that Classical Theory of Organization evolved in the early 1900’s and “represents the merger of scientific management, bureaucratic theory and administrative theory.” Major assumptions of classical theory include ideas such as: there is a head and a body of the organization; a formal role exist between the head of the organization and those who work for the head; due to the limit of energy, knowledge, and space, the head of the organization should have a limited number of people working for them, and this pattern is scaled through the organization until every person in the organization is accountable to someone.
  • Supporting superintendents as if they were CEOs

    Would you drive a car whose technology hasn’t changed in 30 years? Would you trust a surgeon who uses the same techniques used 30 years ago? As a consumer, would you expect continued innovation, research, development, and respectful progress in the profession? Would you support and invest in the organizations responsible for creating and producing these products and services in hopes of receiving the best and most innovative outcomes?
  • Change requires transformation, reformation, and risk.

    Our education system is at a crux. A generation of students face unprecedented challenges of a global society. Experienced teaching professionals with a wealth of institutional knowledge are in a phase of the retirement process. Young teachers feel overwhelmed and under-supported, and education funding is threatened daily. Further, superintendents are faced with a dilemma: meet the requirements of a traditional, bureaucratic instructional system whose academic performance is based on standardized testing or providing cutting-edge opportunities for their students to prepare them for a workforce of the future. A lack of time, money, and support for personnel adds to the burden of creating change within their districts.
  • Properly Supporting Kentucky’s Future

    Purposeful, meaningful change in education requires innovative district-level leadership from both superintendent and school board. For instance, a school board can show support of a superintendent's ideas and through the decision-making processes to allocate resources to support initiatives, such as personnel and funding (Lavalley, 2017). Research suggests that decisions made among districts' superintendents and their school board members directly attributes to the academic performance within high-performing schools (Delagardelle, 2006).
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