Virtual School Meanderings

March 16, 2022

TechTrends – Special Collection / Leading Remotely: Competencies Required for Virtual Leadership

  • Original Paper
  • Published: 

Leading Remotely: Competencies Required for Virtual Leadership


The COVID-19 pandemic caused the largest education system disruption in history, resulting in many districts abruptly, and often ineptly, implementing remote learning to maintain the continuity of instruction. The majority of educational leaders were unprepared for working and delivering instruction in virtual environments. Research indicates that few educational leadership programs provide preparation for leading in virtual learning environments but the COVID crisis made clear that it is imperative for all school leaders have an understanding of virtual leadership. The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of the competencies required for virtual school leadership as they relate to the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders(P-SEL). Interviews were conducted with 28 virtual leaders using a semi-structured interview protocol. Results indicated that while the P-SEL Standards were categorically aligned to their work, there were distinctive differences in the ways in which virtual school leaders engaged their work across various leadership domains that required unique competencies. These findings are important to our understanding of how to better prepare educational leaders to maintain the effective continuity of instruction in future emergencies as well as to continue to implement and improve upon promising practices that developed during remote instruction.

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