Frederick C. Buskey

Clemson University

Eric M. Pitts

Ashville, North Carolina



When school leaders make calculated decisions to deviate from hierarchical or cultural directives and norms, they may be viewed as mavericks or brigands. This paper details a process of ethical checking to help differentiate ethical decisions from more arbitrary or self-serving ones. The paper examines conflicts inherent in many professional codes. We use our model of artistic insubordination (Buskey & Pitts, 2009) as a departure point and examine the relationship between language and steps from Dr. Martin Luther King’s direct action model with concepts already found in educational leadership. We use both to develop a process of ethical checking. The process should help school leaders attempting to balance the demands of being administrative leaders, democratic citizens, and human beings (Starratt, 2004).

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