Leadership and Vision in Nashville Public Schools

Good leaders have goals. Great leaders have a vision. I think the most influential reason why the Metro Nashville Public Schools convinced Dr. Garcia to leave the Corona-Norco Unified School District is because he has a vision. Like any effective leader, the Metro Nashville Public Schools knew that Dr. Garcia had the ability and tenacity to communicate, implement, support, and sustain his vision.

A strategic leader has many qualities at his disposal to achieve his goal. A strategic leader creates a strategy grown from his vision. This strategy includes: implementing financial progress, guiding school objectives, maintaining focus, and increasing organizational culture. The true purpose of possessing a strategic leadership style is to think about the “long-term” results. Dr. Garcia has the ability to integrate short-term results and maintain his long-term focus.

While reading Dr. Garcia’s previous experiences, I noticed that he has lectured at many colleges and conducts workshops on a regular basis. These workshops center on creating a vision. His workshops have also dealt with mentoring, cultural diversity, (TQM) total quality management, and team building. Creating a vision is one of the major points of being a strategic leader.
Additionally, Dr. Garcia has also established leadership roles and partnerships with many educational, cultural, and civic organizations and programs. The notion of increasing culture awareness is also a strategic quality because Dr. Garcia is establishing these relationships for the future of the district and community.

Kathie Harned, an assistant principal at McGavock High School was very excited about the changes Dr. Garcia presented. She stated “most of the principals are already working to the vision, straight aheadâÂ?¦” further enforcing Dr. Garcia’s vision for a better school district.

Dr. Garcia has truly changed things in the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Some of his decisions could be considered dictatorial, however, I think that Dr. Garcia knows what works and what has to be done. He was brought into a failing situation. The situation was not going to resolve itself overnight. The issues that he was facing were not ones that could continue. If Dr. Garcia did not think about short-term goals to satisfy the means to and end, then his strategic leadership style has worked. The end is to sustain a vision that can be thought of as “long-term”. Some examples of Dr. Garcia’s decisions include: a weekly meeting of principals that starts at 3:33 and is mandatory, firing the human resource director, eliminating 100 jobs, each school developing a website, and moving to standards-based assessment.
Most Nashville teachers view Dr. Garcia as a visionary. There have been times when he has not held popular opinion. However, like any effective leader, with a vision, you have to implement your strategy. My first thoughts were that Dr. Garcia was utilizing a transformational leadership style. However, after further inspection of his vision, it is more apparent that it is strategic. He has a strategy that worked in California and he is bringing it East to work in Nashville.

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