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7 Sought-After Leadership Roles in Education

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The need for competent and innovative educational leaders has never been greater in today’s rapidly evolving communities. These leaders play a vital role in advancing student progress and fostering positive outcomes for families and communities at large. Whether in traditional educational settings, corporate environments, or nonprofit organisations, skilled and thoughtful leaders in educational executive roles can make a significant difference.

Educational leadership encompasses managing processes within academic institutions, such as schools and colleges, focusing on developing and applying knowledge that positively impacts students and societies. These professionals collaborate and communicate with diverse groups and communities to build partnerships and achieve transformative goals.

Educational leadership – what are the requirements?

To understand the requirements of educational leadership, it’s important to consider the qualifications and responsibilities involved. Individuals seeking leadership positions in education often start by completing an undergraduate degree in educational leadership. This programme covers various subjects, including education theory, organisational behaviour, psychology, decision-making, research methods, and inclusive education. Some individuals may choose to further their education by pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership, while others opt for doctoral degrees, such as an EdD or PhD.

When considering Ed.D vs PhD in education, it’s essential to note that a PhD typically emphasises academic research, while an EdD. focuses on practical problem-solving skills that directly influence teachers and students. While individuals with a master’s degree can succeed in educational leadership, those with doctoral degrees tend to have more opportunities and enhanced career prospects.

Now, let’s explore a list of managerial positions in which you can opt to work with an advanced qualification in educational leadership. 

School administrator

School administrators supervise administrative operations in schools or other educational institutes. They ensure the seamless operation of the organisation as well as managing staff and other facilities. The typical responsibilities of a school administrator may vary based on the size and nature of the school. 

For instance, school administrators at top-ranked colleges may have different duties than those at small daycare centers. However, they generally handle logistics, oversee budgets, and serve as a resource for all students.

Some of the sought-after skills for this role include understanding administrative procedures, outstanding communication skills, attention to detail, conflict resolution and problem-solving skills, the ability to use education management systems and computers, and good decision-making skills. 

A school administrator can earn between $74,439 and $94,775 annually in the US. But ranges may vary depending on the factors like education, experience, certifications, and skills. 

Curriculum director

A school board employs a curriculum director to develop a curriculum that will enable students to learn to the best of their ability. The position entails close collaboration with teachers and students to implement and manage a curriculum that addresses the particular challenges each school board experiences.

Although the duties of each curriculum director may vary depending on the requirements of the school, some responsibilities that they will likely have include developing the curriculum, whether from scratch or modifying the one already designed, forming a team of experienced staff members, curriculum designers, and educational researchers, and implementing the curriculum. 

College president

The college president is the top executive representing a public higher education institution. 

Their typical duties involve planning and directing all objectives, initiatives, and policies for the institution, creating and implementing the vision and mission of the university, overseeing all academic, operational, and financial functions, presenting to the board of trustees, as well as implementing multiple initiatives to succeed in achieving cooperate goals. 

It is one of the most in-demand careers in education, and the annual average salary of a college or university president depends on their qualification and experience. 

Special education director

This educational leadership role relates to individuals with special needs. Special education directors supervise the programmes specially tailored to address the needs of students with physical, behavioural, mental, or other learning disorders. They need to ensure that teachers and staff implement strategies and processes to help those students. 

The typical duties of a special education director include the following:

  • Evaluating assessments to establish the most effective lesson plan for each student,
  • Seeking funds and ensuring compliance,
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the programme, and
  • Providing education sources and training for special education teachers

Academic dean

A dean is an academic leader having managerial, academic, and financial responsibilities for an educational institute. 

Deans are responsible for student recruiting and academic progress, ensuring adequate instructions and maintaining academic integrity. They are responsible for fostering and preserving integrity among the staff, teachers, and students, as well as the ethical conduct of research.

Head of department

The department head is the highest executive role in a specific department of an organisation, and they are the department representatives.

As a department head, you will be in charge of a particular department at an educational institute. You will lead, monitor, manage, and train the staff. You will also recruit and supervise instructors and professors to teach various courses and delegate funds for organising departmental events. 

Athletic director

If you are a sports enthusiast and an experienced educational leadership professional, this career path might be the right choice. Athletic directors deal with all facets of athletic programmes related to the educational institution, such as hiring coaches, scheduling and promoting athletic events and programmes, procuring equipment, facilitating operations, and making budgets. They also mentor students interested in athletics and offer guidance when required. 


Educational leadership is the discipline that includes training, research, and practice to allow you to help cater to the student’s needs and prepares you for managerial or administrative roles in academic organisations. Individuals in educational leadership study organisational behaviour, psychology, strategy and policies, and decision-making to help students and institutes succeed in their goals. As an educational leader, you can enjoy a variety of careers, including some of the most demanding ones, such as college president, curriculum director, and special education director. Exploring these educational leadership positions can help you find a job that fits your skills and interests.

Tim Williamson, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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