Public Relations Role of School Leaders Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

School Leaders Should Use Social Media to Engage the Community


This paper compares and contrasts seven articles related to the theme of the public relations role of school leaders. The articles in either look at the ways in which leaders can effectively engage with the public or they look at the importance of having a public relations role and what tools can facilitate the development of that role. The paper first discusses the similarities of the articles, then it discusses the elements that make them different from one another. Thus, each article is discussed at least twice over the course of the paper, once in regards to how it aligns with what the other articles say and once in regards to how it distinguishes itself from the others.

Keywords: public relations school leaders, social media public relations, schools social media


School leaders must be able to “negotiate with public relations,” according to Wei (2017). The idea of negotiating with public relations is that one does not shy away from the public light but acts as the face of the school and interacts with stakeholders who may impact or be impacted by what goes on in the school. DiMartino (2018) likewise points out that school leaders have a shared responsibility of creating school-community partnerships through public relations work. This paper will compare and contrast the elements of the seven articles regarding the public relations role of school leaders.


Of the articles analyzed, the main similarity among them all is that none views public relations as foreign to the job of school leaders in today’s digital world. On the contrary, each article shows that school leaders must act as the public relations firm of their own school. Scott and Halkias (2016) show that servant leadership in particular can be of particular utility for school leaders looking to develop their PR role. Servant leadership characteristics were identified as “authenticity, courage, accountability, standing back, forgiveness, stewardship, empowerment, and humility” (p. 10). Handling a crisis, serving others, communicating well and enabling people in the community and in the school to reach their potential is the focus of the study by Scotta and Halkias (2016) but it could equally be said to be the focus of the other articles as well, as they all essentially communicate the same idea: PR matters for school leaders and administrators seeking to bridge education and community life.

Wei (2017) suggests that professional standards for school leaders requires that administrators have the kind of servant leadership mentality described by Scott and Halkias (2016). This helps because, as DiMartino (2018) indicates, it allows for school leaders to identify the needs of the community and adapt the school policies and programs accordingly. The idea here is that schools are not just there to serve students’ needs but also to serve the needs of the wider community. This is the same point that Wei (2017) makes, too.

Hampton (2016) shows that one way to communicate with the public is to use social media. As King (2015) notes, social media’s utility is that it is functional, communicative, universal, and collective. It allows for a two-way flow of communication between school leaders and the community and fosters a spirit of exchange. It facilitates the gathering of feedback so that schools can make adjustments based on the information they receive from stakeholders in the public in response to information that they, the school leaders, put out. Larkin (2013) also makes the case that social media has an important place in the facilitation…

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…reactions and experiences with the tool are gathered here in this study to help give a sense of what real world school leaders think about it as a way to enhance or support their own PR efforts.

Finally, there is the study by Wei (2017), which is unique from the others because it focuses its attention on school leadership in China and shows that the promotion of professional standards among school leaders in China can facilitate the sense of having a public relations role. The study shows that for school leaders to understand that they have an important job to play in terms of PR, they have to have a sense of the vital standards that direct them. In other words, they have to know what is expected of them and what they should be striving to reach.


Each of these articles is unique in its own way but similar in other ways. The ways in which they are the same include the fact that each one focuses in some manner on the importance of leaders of organizations or schools connecting with the public or reaching out to communities in order to connect and engage with them for the purposes of relationship building and knowledge gathering. The ways in which they are different are many, however. Some look at the tools that these leaders can use, such as servant leadership or social media. Others look at the reasons these tools are helpful and what the experiences of school leaders have been with them. Still others look at the importance of having standards for leaders to follow so that they can meet the expectations the community has of them and rise up to the challenges of managing their PR role. Each takes its own approach to the concept…

Sources Used in Documents:


Barnes, N. G., & Jacobsen, S. (2013). Adoption of social media by fast-growing companies: Innovation among the Inc. 500. Journal of Marketing Development & Competitiveness, 7(1), 11-17.

DiMartino, L. (2018). The Role of School Leaders in Creating a Learning Ecosystem Through School-Community Partnerships. Educational Studies Dissertations. 141.

Hampton, S. C. (2016). Social media as a tool to effectively communicate with stakeholders: School administrators and superintendents' perceptions. Dissertations. 316.

King, D. L. (2015). Why use social media? Library Technology Reports, 51(1), 6-9

Larkin, P. (2013). Tweeting the good news. Educational Leadership, 70(7), 70-72.

Scott, J. A., & Halkias, D. (2016). Consensus Processes Fostering Relational Trust Among Stakeholder Leaders in a Middle School: A Multi-Case Study. International Leadership Journal, 8(3), 1-100.

Wei, W. (2017). Education policy borrowing: professional standards for school leaders in China. Chinese Education & Society, 50(3), 181-202.

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