Alison Smith
LEADERSHIP
Alison Smith is a trained and registered primary school teacher with many years of experience in the primary sector including classroom teaching at most year levels, associate and tutor teacher work, and a wealth of leadership experience as a syndicate leader, Deputy Principal and Acting Principal.

She has lectured at Auckland College of Education in the Mathematics Department and also worked as a facilitator for professional development and Ministry of Education contracts in a variety of areas including Mathematics, Reading, Assessment and Leadership Skills training. More recently, she taught educational leadership at Unitec New Zealand for over 8 years.

Alison's business, School Leadership Coaching and Consultancy, has been operating for two years. During this time she has completed appraisals for nearly 30 principals and middle/senior leaders and has worked with over 50 schools in a variety of ways, including carrying out leadership coaching and leadership skills training. She has also worked with 18 schools in two Extending High Standards Across Schools clusters, facilitating their work with implementing an action research approach to change. Other consultancy work has included school community surveys, consultation for Charter review and project evaluation.

She holds a Bachelor of Education, a Diploma in School Management and a Master of Educational Management degrees. She has also completed Ministry-recognised appraisal training with Eileen Piggot-Irvine and has trained as an executive coach with the New Zealand Coaching and Mentoring Centre.

Here are some of the workshops Alison can facilitate:

What’s your style?

Target participants: All teachers and support staff, including those in leadership roles (including principals) and anyone aspiring to a leadership position.

This workshop investigates the idea of leadership style and assists participants to identify their own dominant style of behaviour and to learn how this impacts on their leadership style. The various strengths and weaknesses of each style are examined, as well as ways in which leaders can make the most of others’ ways of behaving and accommodate those behaviours that are sometimes difficult to cope with in ourselves and those around us. There is a particular emphasis in this workshop on team leadership, whether this team be a syndicate, curriculum team, or senior leadership team. A variety of resources and templates are made available to participants.


Becoming an educational leader

Target participants: Teachers who are new to a leadership role, or who are moving from middle leadership to senior leadership roles.

This workshop looks carefully at what it means to be an effective leader in the school context. The relationship between leadership and management is ‘de-mystified’, and the characteristics of effective teams, effective team leaders and effective leadership are included. Participants are also involved in writing a worthwhile job description document that will help guide their practice in practical and meaningful ways. This workshop can be further tailored to cover the skills and knowledge that those new to leadership are often most interested in, for example: delegation, change management, team-building, time management, and so on. This workshop can be followed up by visits to the school to coach participants who want further development in this area.


New to the ‘appraiser’ role?

Target participants: Those who are new to the ‘appraiser’ role or those who want a refresher in this area.

This workshop outlines the nature and purposes of appraisal and give participants an overview of skills and knowledge in the areas of goal-setting, action-planning, carrying out appraisals, gathering data, conducting appraisal interviews and writing the final report. What participants learn is helpful to them when they are being appraised, as well as when appraising others. A variety of resources and templates are made available to participants. This workshop can be followed up by visits to the school to coach participants who want further development in this area.


Professional mission-writing, goal setting and action planning

Target participants: All teachers and support staff, including those in leadership roles.

This workshop involves participants in thinking about their own values and professional priorities, enabling them to write their own professional Mission Statement. The act of goal-setting and action planning for appraisal is also discussed in depth and a range of strategies and resources for writing robust goals and action plans are included. This workshop is a useful follow-on from “New to the ‘appraiser’ role?” and provides a sound foundation for effective performance appraisal for all staff.


Listening, talking and feeding-back

Target participants: All teachers and support staff, including those in leadership roles.

The skills of effective communication are critical to effective leadership in all contexts, but perhaps particularly so in schools where we are involved in so many interactions with teachers, staff, parents and children. Knowing how to listen, question, give and receive feedback, and carry out those ‘difficult conversations’ effectively are all skills that will greatly enhance any leader’s performance. This highly practical workshop covers the tricky areas of negative feedback and resolving conflict, as well as looking closely at why we behave in the ways we do when we find ourselves in these complex situations. This workshop can be followed up by visits to the school to coach participants who want further development in this area.


Coaching in the school context

Target participants: All teachers and support staff, including those in leadership roles.

Coaching is a relatively new practice in New Zealand but is gaining popularity very quickly in the business world, and increasingly in schools. This workshop introduces coaching as an approach for improving performance in the workplace. The main ideas and practices that underpin coaching are taught, and there are plenty of opportunities for participants to practice their coaching using a particular problem-solving coaching model. Participants will learn how to adapt their coaching style to various people, contexts and situations. Communication skills are covered in greater depth than in the Listening, talking and feeding-back” workshop with particular emphasis on how these skills may be used in a coaching approach.


Leading change effectively: An introduction to action research

Target participants: All teachers, particularly those in leadership roles and/or those leading change and development projects in the school.

Action research allows change to take place that is informed by data, relevant to the situation, collaborative and systematic. This workshop introduces participants to the action research approach, its elements and some of the skills and tools required to be an action researcher. Participants can complete a plan that will enable them to get started on an action research project in a planned and comprehensive way. A variety of resources and templates are made available to participants. This workshop can be followed up by visits to the school to support teacher-researchers as they carry out their project.


More action research: Data gathering and analysis

Target participants: All teachers, particularly those in leadership roles and/or those leading change and development projects in the school. This workshop assumes a basic understanding of the action research approach and follows on from “Leading change effectively: An introduction to action research”. Participants learn about the various ways of gathering data (such as focus groups, interviews and questionnaires), how to design questions and how to gather and analyse the data gathered. This knowledge is highly transferable to any situation where data-gathering is needed – a parent survey for example. Gathering data on-line is also covered in this workshop.


Should you wish to request Professional Development with this facilitator, please complete the below form: