n South African Journal of Education - Successful principals : why some principals succeed and others struggle when faced with innovation and transformation

Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



I explore the role and skills a principal needs to succeed in a transforming South African township school environment. I looked in detail at four principals and schools exposed to innovation. Two were successful in transforming their schools and two were not. The successful principals were able to seize innovations and make them work for the school. They were selective in the innovative practices they accepted but, compared with principals of less successful schools who opposed many of the innovations, they were able to explain why they opposed the ones they rejected or modified. The successful principals were particularly effective at working with the surrounding community on its own terms and with the local education district office, and in making these interfaces productive, allowing the school to play a key role in improving the community and supporting changes in the district office.

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