Adolescents possess enormous leadership potential. They are tomorrow’s leaders in the workplace, the family, the community, and in government. Increasingly, schools have taken on the significant responsibility of nurturing leadership in young people. Schools are, as van Linden and Fertman (1998) have noted, “hotbeds of leadership development” (p. 224). This article explores the role and function of the secondary school principal in developing student leadership. Specifically, eight principals of secondary schools in Perth, Western Australia were interviewed about their vision of student leadership and what they saw their role as in promoting student leadership at their schools. As a prelude, the literature review centers on four themes: school-based student leadership, student leadership in Catholic schools, the development of student leadership in schools, and the role of the principal. The methodology for the research is then outlined. The findings of the study are subsequently presented under the following headings: Student leadership, Student leadership in Catholic schools, and the role of the principal. The findings are then examined in the light of the literature on student leadership. Finally, various recommendations are made for principals, teachers, and Catholic education authorities.



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