Tag Archives: virtual school leadership

January 2015 News

January 2015 News

Presented by Mark Sivy

Personalized LearningDuluth’s Online High School Gives Students Flexibility (Duluth News Tribune)

When Deb Halver began teaching 30 years ago, the technology discussion was about whether students should be allowed to use calculators in their math classes and the best way to clean an overhead projector sheet. Her students now learn their math lessons entirely from online curriculum…

This Will Revolutionize Education (Keeping Pace)

The YouTube video This Will Revolutionize Education explores education technology, explaining how numerous earlier predictions of technology revolutionizing education have not panned out, and suggests that most current predictions will be wrong…

2015 Predictions: Competency-Based Ed to Grow, Debt Could Topple Some Schools (Campus Technology)

Online learning will grow this year, but only modestly; more colleges and universities will test out competency-based assessment; and education technology will continue expanding as an industry, driven by investment capital. Those are three of the predictions…

NC Must Take Care in Adapting to the Digital Classroom (&newsobserver.com)

…educators in North Carolina are inexorably marching toward abandoning traditional books as the standard medium of instruction. In March 2013, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill initiating a transition…

How Asia is Emerging as the World’s Edtech Laboratory (edSurge)

If the US is the world’s education technology leader, Asia is fast becoming its most critical testing ground. The reasons are unambiguous: Asia has the…

Postsecondary Trending Now: Personalized Learning in K-12 (Next Generation)

In K-12, there’s a growing network of schools that are looking to personalized learning strategies to improve student success. They are breaking the mold of traditional schools and reimagining what learning could look like when each student has a personalized experience. A report…

MOOCs in 2014: Breaking Down the Numbers (edSurge)

At TechCrunch Disrupt this year, Coursera Co-Founder Daphne Koller claimed that 2014 is the year MOOCs will come of age. An ecosystem has now developed around MOOCs: hundreds of people employed full-time…

Education: ‘More turning’ to online learning (The Yorkshire Post)

Business, health and language are among the most popular subject areas for “massive open online courses” – known as MOOCs – offered through a UK-based “hub” and women are more likely to join than men. The statistics come from…


Reflection Point – “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ~Nelson Mandela


Virtual School Leader Development

Recommendations for Virtual School Leader Preparation

by Mark Sivy

Based upon the outcomes of my recently completed virtual school leadership study, recommendations are made for:

  1. Continued research
  2. Development of leadership standards
  3. Creation of leadership preparation and development opportunities
  4. Application of current findings to leadership practice

To continue the work started by this dissertation research, additional virtual school leadership study is recommended. The initial focus should be further study of virtual school leadership to discover remaining factors or factor details that influence the role. It is then suggested to broaden the scope of study to produce generalizable findings for the field of virtual school leadership. These findings would be inclusive of and applicable to state-led virtual schools (e.g., Florida Virtual School and Michigan Virtual School), charter virtual schools (e.g., Wisconsin’s Online Charter School), online school consortia, commercially-backed virtual schools (such as those using K-12), and other virtual learning endeavors.

virtual school leadershipIt is then recommended that the study of the virtual school leadership role be complemented by the development of a vetted and accepted compilation of virtual school leadership standards. The standards should be developed in association with a professional organization such as the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL).

With standards in place, the next recommendation is the design and creation of comprehensive certification agendas, higher education programs, and professional development programs. These learning opportunities should be based upon research, practice, and standards and be created in a manner that ensures virtual school leaders develop knowledge and abilities through meaningful rhetoric, critical thinking exercises, and case study analyses. It is suggested that the development of these offerings include broad input and review from stakeholders, subject matter experts, existing leaders, and national professional organizations.

It is advocated that certification agendas and professional development programs be crafted to provide comprehensive leadership preparation that addresses all the themes presented in this study. These should be supplemented by ongoing communities of practice and support. In addition to the inclusion of central topics, professional development offerings should also include special topics as they arise, panel discussions, case presentations, and content for other levels of virtual school administration and leadership.

With the understanding that currently there is a relatively small group of individuals who would be interested in virtual school leadership, at least one graduate level course that introduces virtual instructional leadership should be offered in higher education programs at larger institutions. This overview course would benefit individuals who are in a variety of roles, from the leader of a traditional school offering online courses to the leader of a virtual school to individuals who are in other leadership roles associated with online learning.

virtual school leaderRealizing that online and virtual education and virtual schools are rapidly expanding and reaching a critical mass, the next recommendation is for the creation of a national center for virtual school studies at a higher education institution. This center would take the lead in the study of virtual school theory and practice including, but not limited to, leadership. Based upon the work of this center and other researchers, a graduate program offering a specialization in virtual school leadership should be created.

Individuals who are currently interested in becoming a virtual school leader should seek membership in professional organizations, read existing academic literature on virtual schools and virtual leadership, and take advantage of networking opportunities with current virtual school leaders. Virtual school employees who are considering advancement into a leadership position within their virtual school should inquire about succession planning. For purposes of support, documentation, and ongoing development, it is suggested for existing leaders to create a formal consortium or collaborative organization that is open to leaders from various online and virtual school efforts.

Reflection Point – A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. ~Lao Tzu

Administrator Research

Exploratory Study of the Leadership Characteristics of a Virtual School Administrator

Call For Participants

A doctoral candidate at NOVA Southeastern University’s Department of Education is looking for individuals to participate in an research study that will look at the Leadership Characteristics of a Virtual School Administrator. This study will be paramount in determining the leadership and management skills an individual will need to successfully govern in a virtual learning environment and the beneficiaries of this study will include stakeholders such as the next generation of virtual school administrators, human resources, and policy makers.

Virtual schoolThey are looking for individuals that meet the following criteria:

1. Over 18 years old.
2. Administrator of a virtual school community (i.e. Principals, Directors, CEOs).
3. Bachelors or Graduate Degree.
4. Professional experience in the field of education.

As a participant you will be asked to participate in a short fifteen (15) minutes interview (in person, telephone, or via Skype). Please note information given by all participants will be coded and kept confidential.


If you’re interested in participating and are a member of iNACOL, please log into the Member Forum and find this under General Announcements. If you’re not a member, please enter a comment and I’ll find a way for you to contact the researcher. Thanks.


Virtual School News

 Announcing my new blog – Virtual School News

by Mark Sivy

<img src="image.gif" alt="Virtual School" />My dissertation in now complete and will soon be published, bringing an end to a long doctoral program journey for this mid-career professional-gone-student. The short version of the rationale for taking this life-altering path was to gain a breadth and depth of knowledge, research skills, and theoretical perspective that would augment many years of practical experience in educational technology, e-learning, and educational leadership. It’s now time to regroup and put this wealth of abilities, wisdom, and education to good use.

Did I accomplish what I expected? Yes and more! On the surface I knew I was pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership with a specialization in instructional systems technology. Done! Then there was the strengthening of self-motivation, self-esteem, self-efficacy and indomitable character that enabled the completion of years of coursework and research, all while moving into an unknown future. Made it! Studies included organizational theory, advanced instructional design, policy, learning theory, educational technology, instructional systems, leadership, research design, and more. Suited my desires and needs! Then came the freedom to explore educational innovations and technological trends in the areas of e-learning, online professional development, virtual school ecosystems, and virtual school leadership. Icing on the cake!

So, now what? Well, I’d been thinking about creating a blog for virtual school news (which includes cyber schools, online school programs, and such) as a way to share what I’ve learned and will yet discover. Since I have many other interests and curiosities, I decided to create the following blogs in addition to Virtual School News:

<img src="image.gif" alt="Virtual School" />

As I mentioned, I’ve used this post as a common introduction to all my blogs and after this point they shall each set sail in their own direction. The destinations are many, with several being charted, others pursuing intriguing trends, and some going where the winds might blow. So now onward with these journeys…this one being on virtual school news.

Reflection Point – I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking, And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.  ~ First stanza of Sea Fever by John Masefield