The Spirit of Leadership: Leadership Competencies for System Leaders


In the fall of 2020, the BCSSA Board of Directors approved a process to update the BCSSA Leadership Competencies entitled Dimensions of Practice and approved a process for that revision.

Our history of competencies began in the late 1990s when the BCSSA wrote a series of leadership statements titled Dimensions of Practice. Based on the Professional Standards for the Superintendency from the American Association of School Administrators, the Dimensions have been a guiding document for the practice of system leaders in BC. In the fall of 2020, the BCSSA Board of Directors approved a process to update Dimensions of Practice. This update intends to honour that past work, and to provide a series of guiding statements about leadership at the system level.

The First People’s Principles of Learning state that learning is embedded in memory, history, and story and that learning involves generational roles and responsibilities. These competencies are intended to tell the story of leadership at the system level. Leadership is not only about skills and attributes, but also about the relationships and personal characteristics that comprise care and compassion. This document captures our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, our leadership values, and provides a foundation for individuals to find their own Spirit of Leadership.

Stewardship for the Future of All Children

Leaders focus on all children and continually strive to create and sustain places of belonging and care not only for self and others, but for the land and environment. Our eternal purpose is to embrace the challenges ahead and to have the courage to create a future that is inclusive, just, and sustainable.

Fostering a Culture of Curiosity and Inquiry

Inquiry is curiosity in action and is a lived daily practice and mindset. The ongoing development of collaborative processes that focus on designing engaging learning environments and participating in reflective practice are at the heart of our work. Inquiry is about demonstrating honesty in reflection and unearthing truth about what we know.

Growing the Capacity of Self and Others

Leaders demonstrate integrity and humility as they continually work to act selflessly in service of others. These qualities include an ongoing examination of one’s own leadership style and practices and an intentional commitment to lifelong learning and the support of the learning of others around you.

Contextual Literacy

We are shaped by, and we in turn shape the systems and relationships that surround us. Leaders respect and acknowledge the power of culture and context and balance the needs and knowledge presented by internal and external systems and partners. Leaders “read the land” of the organization within and nurture healthy, transparent, and inclusive cultures.

Aligning Structures with Vision for Learning

Systems and structures have inherent knowledge, practice, and capabilities. Leaders have the wisdom to identify, connect, and alter systems and structures to focus efforts and resources where it is most needed. Keen observers, careful communicators, leaders are points of connection and active constructors of systems that align and support.

Contact Us

BC School Superintendents Association
#208 - 1118 Homer Street
Vancouver BC V6B 6L5
Phone: (604) 687.0590

Career Opportunities

Review current open positions



3 Swirls