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AISH's Leadership Playbook

By DEB WELCH, CEO, Academy for International School Heads (AISH)


AISH developed the The Leadership Playbook, consisting of professional Standards and “Threads” of Leadership that shape an International Head of School’s approach to the position. The resource is based on current educational and leadership research.

AISH developed the Playbook to help leaders develop the skills to reach their potential and to make a positive impact on student learning. It is a self-reflective tool to assess performance, identify areas of growth, set goals and note development over time.

The Standards represent the “what” of the position, by detailing responsibilities in six areas of leadership. Those areas include: Mission for Learning, Governance, Human and Organizational Development, Operations and Resource Management, School-Home-Community Partnerships, and Professional Accountability. Each area has indicators that provide more specificity.

The “how” of leadership is critically important and is captured in the “Threads”. They answer the question: how does a leader develop the skills and practices necessary to make a school community thrive? The Threads run throughout our actions as leadership practices that enable us to achieve extraordinary results. Such Threads as “Encourage the Heart,” “Challenge the Process,” “Inspire a Shared Vision for Learning,” “Model the Way,” and “Inspire a Shared Vision for Learning,” take us beyond the basics to achieve our mission driven goals.

In addition, the “why” of leadership is written into every statement to ensure the leader is continually aware of their purpose and makes decisions for optimal impact.

How could you, as a school leader, use the Leadership Playbook? Surprisingly, the continued development of the person at the helm is frequently overlooked in our schools. AISH believes that by paying attention to our growth as leaders, we can deepen the impact we have in our schools. We encourage you to use the Playbook to get feedback from others, identify challenges, set leadership goals, seek professional learning and chart your development as a leader.

Some Heads have chosen to use the Playbook with their Boards as an aspect of their annual evaluation, where they incorporate their self-reflection, goal setting and reflection on learning into the process with their governing body.

The AISH Leadership Series, online courses developed by AISH in partnership with Global Online Academy (GOA), are aligned to the Leadership Playbook and provide inroads for areas of development. This summer, we are offering five four-week courses that will require approximately three-to-five hours per week and are designed to ensure a quality learning experience.

Facilitated “by Heads for Heads,” the courses are primarily asynchronous so you can participate regardless of time or place. Options are provided within each topic so you can customize the content for immediate job embedded impact. In addition, the New and Aspiring Heads Institute is a four-day immersive experience that uses the Standards and Threads as an organizer.

Join us! For more information, go to series