Strategy is an ambiguous term in the field of educational leadership. This article reports on a study in which I sought to investigate how practicing school principals and the literature construct the concept. Specifically, I investigated the congruence between two sources of data: the transcribed texts of interviews with practicing principals and a systematic search of peer-reviewed journal articles extending over a 28-year period. The poor match between practitioners and the literature in how they portray the strategic role of school leaders challenges scholars and practitioners alike to reconsider the conceptualization of strategy. If strategy is to become a meaningful construct in the field, then a broader, more discursive lens is required; otherwise, the concept risks fading into obscurity or becoming little more than yet another adjectival form of leadership.
Journal of School Leadership Vol. 20, Issue 4, p. 425-444