Paper Title
Creative Leadership Strategies for Responding to School Change in Challenging Contexts

This paper references the changes South African schools are undergoing and in particular discusses their status as performing or underperforming schools and their efforts to transform. The complex task of leading change in creative ways and employing context-driven leadership strategies are more often than not a key feature of addressing school change.Adopting Stewardship Theory as theoretical lens, this study sought to identify creative leadership strategies school leaders employ to address school change at four South African secondary schools, functioning in challenging contexts.These strategies include professional development for teachers, quality teaching and learning campaigns, pacesetters for learners, teach and assess strategies, controlling of work and leading value-driven schools. A qualitative research methodology was used to identify the eights leadership strategies through semi-structured interviews and focus group interviews with school leaders. The results indicate that contextual constraints as well as diversity of context, may sometimes constrain school change. In addition, it was evident that when leaders apply creative, context-driven leadership strategies, it ensures commitment from teachers toward the change process and contribute positively to improving learner academic performance. Key terms - Creative leadership strategies, school change, leadership, challenging school contexts