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Leading or managing? Assistant Regional Directors, School Performance, in Queensland

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– Education reform aimed at achieving improved student learning is a demanding challenge for leaders and managers at all levels of education across the globe. In 2010, the position of Assistant Regional Directors, School Performance (ARD-SP), was established to positively impact upon student learning across public schools in Queensland, Australia. The purpose of this paper is to explore the perceptions of the role and leadership understandings of ARDs in Queensland in order to understand more fully the tensions and opportunities they face within this reasonably newly created position.


– This qualitative study is based on interviews with 18 ARDs and two of their supervisors to gauge a better understanding of the nature of the role as it relates to leadership and management in the Queensland context.


– Interview data revealed three key themes pertaining to the nature of the role and these were performance, supervision, and professional challenges. A key finding was that the notion of supervision was experienced as problematic for ARDs-SP.

Research limitations/implications

– This study has limitations and these include a sample that focused on ARDs within one State of Australia and one schooling system (i.e. public education); and interviews were the primary data collection source.


– Although there have been studies of supervisors of principals (referred to as superintendents, directors) in other countries and other systems, this study is a first to explore the tensions and opportunities faced by executive leaders in Queensland.
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Keywords: Assistant Regional Directors; Managerialism; Performance; Public schools; Queensland; Supervision

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Publication date: May 5, 2015

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