Instructional Leadership in Action

Sandy Austin

Dr. Sandy Austin manages district partnerships and provides instructional leadership support for district and school administrators. She joined the Center for Educational Leadership after serving as an assistant superintendent and a school administrator for fifteen years. Sandy is interested in the link between instructional leadership and improved teaching and learning. She received her Ed.D. from the University of Washington in 2006.

Recent Posts

Instructional leadership teams to the rescue: Developing a shared vision is key to success

by Sandy Austin Sep 26, 2018

How can a principal keep from feeling overwhelmed trying to improve teaching and learning? Form an instructional leadership team of teacher leaders to identify teaching and learning challenges in the building. Such a team builds its own instructional leadership skills while expanding your capacity.

In the September 2018 issue of NASSP's Principal Leadership magazine, Sandy Austin, Donna Anderson-Davis, Jason Graham and Michele White explain how to put instructional leadership teams into action. They share five best practices for school-based instructional leadership teams along with lessons learned, advice, and links to three useful tools.

Read the article.

Used with permission of NASSP/Principal Leadership. All rights reserved.

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Principals: Our advice and resources for establishing instructional leadership teams

by Sandy Austin Jan 12, 2018

It’s a new year and you have made a resolution to create plans and work with teachers to improve teaching and learning. That excitement quickly turns to focused determination as you remember all of your other responsibilities as a school principal. You ask yourself, “How can I get into classrooms more and plan supports for teachers?”   

One idea you have is to form an instructional leadership team (ILT) of teacher leaders to identify teaching and learning challenges in your building and support teachers to solve these challenges. You imagine that leading a team in this sort of work will build their instructional leadership skills and expand your capacity to provide the kind of support that your teachers and students need and deserve.

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4 Steps of Inquiry That Help Principals Improve Instruction

by Sandy Austin Apr 1, 2015

When I ask principals what prevents them from focusing on instructional quality in their school, the number one answer I get is: time. It’s true, time is always a concern for principals, but it is not the only one. I have found that even when principals carve out the time to improve instruction, they are often at a loss for what to do.

That’s a problem because principals matter. School leadership is the second greatest school-related influence on student learning, second only to teacher effectiveness (Leithwood & Riehl, 2003). Without an effective principal in every school, it will be difficult to improve student outcomes and close persistent achievement gaps.

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