The municipality of a city in northern Israel turned to a local university for help in improving the quality of education in its schools. I was chosen to lead an intervention programme in a religious school, from whose staff 25 teachers were selected, including the school principal, counselor, and subject and homeroom subject teachers. heterogeneous population composed of including Ethiopians, Russians, Mizrahim, and Ashkenazim. The staff and student population also came from divergent religious streams that did not always see eye to eye, causing conflict between the teachers and between the teachers and principal. The principal’s religious affiliation was also a factor with respect to the municipality, some of the educators within it wishing for a principal from another religious stream to be appointed. Many of the parents had less than twelve years of education, suffered from unemployment, and were from a low socioeconomic stratum. While some of the students lived at home, others were resident in children’s homes. The school principal was apprehensive of her position both with respect to the municipality and the teachers; the teachers resisted change and innovation; and my goal was to motivate the participants, promote teacher professional development, and improve assessment methods by strengthening the collaboration between all the parties involved. Via a self-study based on a reflective journal, I sought to cope with the conflicting interactions, philosophies, and values and hidden agendas that posed challenges on many different levels to my capacity as a mentor leading a multi-participant (university-municipality-school) partnership. I classified the dilemmas I encountered in mediating between three parties into three primary categories: motivational, professional development, and assessment. Providing a still-rare example of in-service partnerships, this case study illustrates the complexity of leadership such interventions.
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