Vol. 13 No. 9 (2018): Looking for Competent School Leaders for Indigenous Schools: The New System to Appoint School Leaders in Mexico

The understanding that leadership matters is well regarded in many types of organizations not only in education. In 2015 Mexico implemented a new system to appoint school leaders updating the previous, which was applied for more than four decades. This system aims to appoint the most competent candidate as school principal based on the scores they get on two tests. This study explored how the new system enhances or hinders preparation and readiness for leadership positions, and the effectiveness of tutoring and in-service professional development. Five newly appointed school leaders to Indigenous schools were followed throughout their first year of service. They were interviewed at the beginning, after six months, and at the end of their first year. Thematic analysis was used to process the data gathered from semi-structured interviews using a selective coding approach. Two main predefined themes were explored in this study: Leadership Preparation and Tutoring and Professional Development. Findings indicate that for schools located in remote Indigenous communities, isolation and the lack of communication infrastructure, such as internet and phone signal, hinder the possibility of effective training and tutoring. This study concludes that even though the new system seems to have made progress in appointing better school leaders, it is only partial since aspiring leaders are neither required to make specific preparation for their new post nor offered these opportunities, hindering their readiness to enact headship effectively.

Published: 2018-10-31