A case study of leadership transition: Continuity and change

Ralph Cocklin, Jane Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Few studies of school leadership succession document the processes of continuity and change, especially within situations where there has been a strong tradition of tenure of principal, within a 'quality' school. This article examines how a new principal with a commitment towards notions of Learning Community Schools, 'quality' teaching and leadership, followed on from a long-standing prior principal with a more hierarchical and 'traditional' approach to leadership. At the same time, the prior principal had engaged community, and effectively contributed to the considerable status of his school within the district. Hence, the article examines the processes by which the school continued to be effective, in major part due to a smooth leadership transition that acknowledged and built upon the strengths of both the former and incumbent principals. In short, a context of continuity and change in leadership succession. Accordingly, the research adds to a small body of literature in increasing our knowledge base about leadership succession in a context of stability and continuity, rather than crisis. It suggests how 'quality schools' may be maintained and nourished via positive transitions in school leadership, where tenure is extensive, and in contexts with strong community ties and historical involvement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-675
Number of pages15
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

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