I haven't done any real research on this issue, but this seems to be rising to the surface in my district. I'm interested in not only pouring out some of my thoughts, but I'm also interested in hearing what those of you in different districts--some of whom may be going through this type of thing--have to say.
I was recently . . . chastised, shall we say, for claiming that my school site was the best in the district. (I don't know why they, the district leadership, had a problem with this; would they rather I said my school was mediocre? Would they have me claim that all the schools are identical when the statistics suggest otherwise? Do they not realize that I will find the positives of ANY school I'm at at sing its praises?) The district would like me, as a site level assistant principal, to represent the whole school district and not just the one site. I suspect this is part of the reason I was recently transfered to a different assignment in the district after seven years in one location. This isn't uncommon at the assistant principal level--in our area, we're usually moved around every five years or so. The idea, of course, is to give us a range of experiences in different locations to prepare us for principalships. (I don't see this as a stepping-stone profession, so I don't care much about being ready for the next rung of the ladder.) Could this not also be seen as a method of professional detachment? Work at enough of the schools in the district and, theoretically, you'd see yourself less as a school-site employee and more as an agent of the district.
When I was a teenager I worked at a video rental chain. The store location at which I worked had its own manager and assistant managers, but there was a district manager who covered all the stores in that area. At each store location he had his own office, even though each office got used, like, once a week. I would think that this parallels the assistant superintendent, who oversees all the secondary schools; that person, theoretically, wouldn't be assigned to any one school site, but all of them. This may be what they're looking for in me at this point. (Of course, if I'm to believe that all schools are equal and my move from 7-12 school-in-the-best-part-of-town to 7-8 school-in-its-fourth-year-of-program-improvement is a lateral move, as they claim, it shouldn't come with a pay cut. Of course, that's my opinion.)
I suppose that the articulation efforts between the middle school (my new site) and the high school we feed into has helped me to better understand this. Coming from a 7-12 environment, articulation was built-in and assumed. Could we not form a relationship that is so close that the lines between schools sites get blurred, creating a 7-12 school in everything but physical placement? Is this one way to detach myself from a school and look more at a district (or zone) allegiance? Or is that the assistant superintendent's role?
So here's the question: What are the benefits and detriments of school loyalty, especially in cases where the administrator is likely to leave within a five year time frame? How should the teachers approach such a management situation? How should the assistant principal approach it?