There are diverse groups of people involved with the schools. As an educational leader, you at various times deal with the following people: Governing board members
● The superintendent’s public information officer ● Central office staff ● Principals ● Teachers ● Support staff ● Students ● Parents ● Social service providers ● Community members ● Business leaders ● Legislators ● The media
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Within most of these groups are individuals who function as opinion leaders. They are the people to whom others in the group turn for information and advice. How do you identify these citizens who have a following, who have credibility within the group, be it for their trustworthiness or for their expertise?
These opinion makers can be any number of informal leaders: the school secretary, the 25-year teacher, the president of the PTA, the local grocer or dry cleaner, the bank vice president. Always be aware that, in one way or another, these opinion leaders have an interest in the schools of their community.
One of the interesting characteristics of opinion leaders is that they are seldom the loudmouths in their group. The person who complains at every PTA meeting is not an opinion leader. An opinion leader, generally, is the one who stands to speak when it is important and has a valid statement to make. These citizens are usually activists and positivists, and it is vital that you cultivate their support.