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Lessons from leading through COVID-19: Secondary principals’ perspectives

Kate Thornton

School principals were required to engage in crisis leadership throughout New Zealand’s first COVID-19 Alert Level Four lockdown that began in March 2020. Eighteen school principals from a range of secondary schools were interviewed about their experiences and the findings of this study are discussed in relation to the leadership capability framework. This research reveals that principals acted with empathy in prioritising wellbeing over learning, demonstrated community responsiveness by using multiple ways of communicating, encouraged collective leadership, led with optimism, demonstrated resilience, and took opportunities to shift practice in their schools.

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