16 | Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly
These sustainability-focused leadership roles and
functions align with and advance the leadership
concepts and ideals we have embraced nationally
as central to effective instructional leadership
that positively influences student learning and
achievement, revealing many opportunities
for bringing WSS into the forefront of school
leadership preparation and practice. Table 1
summarizes opportunities for practicing WSS
within each PSEL or leadership function.
Current educational leaders benefit from a
comprehensive introduction to green schools
and WSS in ways that reveal and address the
conceptual and practical alignment with essential
concepts, ideals, and functions of the educational
leadership profession. In fact, we are making
progress in this regard. USGBC’s Center for Green
Schools, the Cloud Institute for Sustainability
Education, the Green Schools National Network,
the Green Schools Alliance, and Shelburne
Farms are all working to meet the sustainability
education needs of teachers, school/district
leaders, and communities. Participants in their
diverse programming learn fundamentally that
WSS is about working differently, not more.
Looking forward, the green school movement
continues to need more formal and informal
learning opportunities for educational leaders
to both introduce and deepen understanding
of WSS concepts and approaches. These
opportunities will need to expand across
educational leadership preparation programs as
well as professional development providers.
Sustainability, as a field of study and focal
point for action, asks urgent questions. How
do we endure on earth? How do we take care
of our planet, each other, and the resources
we depend upon for our survival? How do we
live responsibly so that those who come after
us can live? Humanity has yet to fully answer
these questions. School leaders have a critical
role to play in developing more sustainable
school practices, engaging students in these big
questions and preparing them to discover and
implement solutions. To ensure that leaders are
successful in this role, we must help them learn
that sustainability has relevance to every aspect of
their work, and that sustainability-focused frames
of mind and practice, as illustrated in Table 1,
will assist them in ensuring that each and every
student has an opportunity to reach their full
potential as learners and citizens.
Arnold, E. and Beardsley, E. R. (2015). Perspectives on implementation and effectiveness of school green cleaning. Washington, DC:
U.S. Green Building Council. Retrieved from Center for Green Schools website: http://centerforgreenschools.org/sites/default/files/
Bernstein, T. (2003). Building healthy, high performance schools. Washington, DC: Environmental Law Institute.
Bernstein, T. (2010, Nov. 2010). Healthy, high performance school facilities: Developments in state policy.
Center for Green Schools at USGBC. (2016). Green schools menu of options for state legislators. Retrieved from http://www.
centerforgreenschools.org/sites/default/files/resource-files/Green-Schools-Menu-of-Options-for-State-Legislators.pdf, March 3, 2017.
Edwards, B. W. (2006). “Environmental design and educational performance.” Research in Education, 76, 14-32.
Furman, G. C., & Gruenewald, D. A. (2004). “Expanding the landscape of social justice: A critical ecological analysis.” Educational
Administration Quarterly, 40( 1), 47-76.
Gordon, D. E. (2010). Green schools as high performance learning facilities. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for Educational
Facilities, National Institute of Building Sciences.
Kensler, L. A. W. (2012). “Ecology, Democracy, and Green Schools: An Integrated Framework.” Journal of School Leadership, 22( 4).
Kensler, L.A. W. & Uline, C. L. (2014). ‘Leadership.” In Sobel, D., Gentile, S. J. and Bocko, P. National Action Plan for Education for
Sustainability. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and U.S. Green Building Council.
Kensler, L. A. W. & Uline, C. L. (2015). “The transformation of a school district from energy hog to energy star.” In Gross, S. J. and
Shapiro, J. P. Democratic Ethical Educational Leadership: Reclaiming School Reform, pp. 54-58. New York, NY: Routledge: Taylor &