Sustainable Leadership Supporting Educational Transformation


  • Katherine Sanford University of Victoria
  • Tim Hopper University of Victoria
  • Kerry Robertson University of Victoria
  • Laura Lancaster Sooke School District
  • Vivian Collyer BC Ministry of Education



Case study, Narrative, Qualitative research, Complexity Theory


The world, influenced by 21st century technologies and ecological challenges, has rapidly changed with more ability to “connect” locally and globally and more opportunities to learn from a range of sources. As a result, our learners and their needs have changed. With such rapid changes, conceptions of educational leadership need to reflect these changes utilizing the complexities of the role in society. As a group of educators who work in a School District, Ministry of Education and University teacher education programs, we ask how educational leaders in school districts and teacher education programs can design spaces that engage everyone, recognize everyone’s expertise and share responsibility for growth and development, and how in teacher education we can begin to move away from the hierarchical, industrialized model of management to one where everyone feels engaged, valued, and heard. In this paper, we draw on sustainable and distributed leadership ideas, termed by Wheatley (2010) as the “new sciences,” informed by tenets from complexity theory. Using a case study approach and narrative insights, this paper elucidates how an ongoing Professional Learning Network (PLN) called Link-to-Practice (L2P) offers an alternative conception of educational leadership.

            Keywords: case study; narrative, qualitative research, complexity theory

Author Biography

Tim Hopper, University of Victoria

Dr. Tim Hopper is an associate professor and faculty member in the School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria in British Columbia. He received his Masters and PhD from the University of Alberta. Dr Hopper’s scholarly work focuses on PE teacher education and approaches to teaching and learning such as Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) and Movement Education. Dr Hopper has taught at all levels of the school curriculum both in Canada and the UK. He maintains strong links with local schools through a teacher education approach known as school integrated teacher education (SITE) where, observed and assisted by pre-service teachers, he teaches PE to classes of children with the eventual goal of the pre-service teachers taking over the teaching process. He has just completed a three-year study with Dr Kathy Sanford examining the influence of ePortfolios on pre-service teachers’ learning and program renewal. Collaborating with Dr Sanford he is currently involved in a four year SSHRC funded study called "Youth civic engagement: Real life learning through virtual games environments."