The aim of this article is to unfold how the educational policies, that have recon-figured education systems since the ‘80s and globally spreaded in western coun-tries, have focused on leadership as a lever of change. Discourses, paradigms and ‘new’ experts have in fact molded the head teachers’ role as a managerial one, in order to implement in schools technology-based methods, tools and even theories and values coming from the entrepreneurial and private sectors. Here are present-ed theories that have sustained these changes and therefore impacted on educa-tional leadership. A conceptual map distinguishes welfarist, managerialist and ‘crit-ical’ discourses, as well as the ontological and epistemological premises underpin-ning leadership theories. Within this frame, empirical researches on educational leadership, recently conducted both at the international and Italian educational fields, are critically discussed in the light of the shifting head teachers profession toward a neoliberal ethos.
Keywords: Educational Leadership, Neoliberalism, Educational Policies, Ethos