Archive for the ‘leadership’ Category

Choosing The Right Drivers

26 Apr

I recently listened to a great talk by Michael Fullan on Choosing The Right Drivers, and this may have been my favorite quote:

“If you are strong on the vision but weak in the strategy the wrong drivers will fill the vacuum.” Michael Fullan


A Great Interview Of Atul Gawande On The Harvard EdCast

28 Jan

Dr. Atul Gawande

I am a big fan of the Harvard EdCast, and have been a listener for along time.  Recently they had Atul Gawande on talking education!  Need I say more?  Check out the interview, you won’t be disappointed!

Harvard EdCast: Doctor/Professor


Taking Educational Leadership Forward – The EdAdmin Show on The EdReach Network

19 Nov

Make sure you check out the EdAdmin show on the EdReach network!  I am hosting the show and we had a great first show this past week!  Check it out here:


What is an EPSE?

06 Mar

Public schooling has been under attack recently.  The view of the public school teacher has been negatively portrayed in the media lately. Don’t get me wrong, I am pro reform in public schools, but I am pro informed reform!  As a principal and teacher I see the daily work and care my teachers pour into their students and I think it’s time we school leaders promote some deserved recognition and appreciation.

I am blessed to work in a school district that has a proactive superintendent who is an advocate for best practices, students, teachers, and public schooling.  My superintendent, Dr. Jeff Swensson, recently wrote and article in the Indianapolis Star that inspired me to write this post and share his article.  Please take 5 minutes to read his article here: EPSE Awards

I agree with what Dr. Swensson said, “I recommend that each of us takes a moment to award an EPSE. What will be the result when you send your e-mail, make that phone call or have a brief conversation to present an EPSE?”
Leaders, get involved in promoting a positive pat on the back for your teachers in your community!  I hope the following creation can help you get started!  I have created a certificate that parents and students could fill out and give to their teacher to say thank you!  You can access it here: EPSE AWARD CERTIFICATE FORM —– CERTIFICATE (NOT IN FORM MODE)
Please feel free to share this!  My hope is that this helps build on Dr. Swensson’s idea and that we can spread some love and appreciation, as well as a positive perception, toward our public school teachers who work hard to make our students successful!
Original Photo Credit: AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by Jeff the Trojan; Manipulated by Chris Atkinson

Sir Ken Robinson – Changing Education Paradigms

16 Oct


Great Leaders Keep The Focus On Student Learning

15 Jul

I love working in the Carmel Clay School district, and the last two days I spent at the administrators retreat were so refreshing.  Leaders focused on student learning, inspring teachers, and continually working toward excellence!  Tonight I came across a blog post on the NSDC blog, check out this quote and read the article by clicking the link below.

“Without effective leaders, public education is often a maelstrom of competing interests. Attention and effort can shift from students’ needs to responding to the most powerful or persistent adult voices. School system leaders understand that one of their roles is to modulate and, in some cases, resist these demands, ensuring that the system’s focus remains on student learning. This is often exhausting work and certainly not the reason most leaders chose public education as a career. Nevertheless, leaders prepare for and embrace this role, understanding that their success directly impacts student performance.”


ISTE 2010 Day 1

27 Jun

Well the flight is over, the hotel key is in pocket, a fresh set of threads are on and I’m on my way to ISTE 2010 via shuttle bus.

I am so excited to see fellow leaders, bloggers, teachers, and Ed tech enthusiasts!

I will bring you a full update tonight!



Inspiring Text

19 Jun

I have been rereading some books this summer that I really enjoyed a few years ago.  One book I am rereading is What’s Worth Fighting For in the Principalship, by Michael Fullan.  I really like this book, it’s a quick read and holds some great nuggets of inspiring text for school leaders.  I’m going to be adding some of my favorite quotes here over the next few days, so enjoy:

  • -School leaders improve learning indirectly through and most powerfully through their influence on staff motivation, commitment, and working conditions (NCSL – England, Seven Strong Claims About Successful School Leadership).

- Leadership is not about making clever decisions and doing bigger deals, least of all for personal gain.  It is about energizing other people to make good decisions and do better things.

  • Effective leadership inspires more than it empowers; it connects more than it controls; it demonstrates more than it decides.
  • Effective principals spend their time creating the conditions for teachers and teacher leaders to zero in on effective instructional practices, and to use data on student learning both as a leverage for improvement and as a source for external accountability.
  • …focused collaborative cultures generate greater student learning
  • Six components of a PLC: a focus on learning, a collaborative culture, collective inquiry, an action orientation, a commitment to continuous learning, and a concentration on results (from Dufour, Dufour, and Many (2006)).
  • Synthesized statement (my words): In a study done by Sisodia, Wolfe, and Sheth in Firms of Endearment when companies focus on changing culture their productivity soars!  The companies in this study were compared to Jim Collins set of 11 (2001 Good to Great), and they outperformed his set, over a ten year period, by 1,026%.
  • …the heart of what’s worth fighting for within the school is creating deep cultures that work daily on purposeful, continuous learning.
  • …system context is always more powerful than that of a single school.
  • …district wide reform depends on schools leveraging one another forward.
  • De-privatizing teaching involves opening up the world of the classroom ro scrutiny and continuous development of instruction
  • Leading knowledgeably must be the core role of the principal.  (24)
  • Leading knowledgeably
  • Marzano’s studies have shown: ” Students who have a teacher at the 75th percentile in terms of pedagogical competence will outgain students who have a teacher at the 25th percentile by 14th percentile points in reading and 18 percentile points in mathematics…students who have a 90th percentile teacher will outgain students who have a 50th percentile teacher by 13 percentile points in reading and 18 percentile points in mathematics.”
  • Leading knowledgeably means bringing all teachers to a high level of pedagogical effectiveness; but more than that, it means fostering interactions that keep teachers at that level through continuous application and refinement. (25)
  • Gawande says it is all about cultivating habits of “diligence,” “doing it right,” and “ingenuity.”
  • So, it is essential for school leaders to foster relentless consistency relative to those practices that are known to be effective practices that come to have the statis of being “non-negotiable.”
  • Pedagogical leadership is more effective than transformational leadership (paraphrased)
  • “effect sizes” of principals promoting and participating directly with teachers in the formal and informal learning of the use of data to influence appropriate instructional activities was more than twice as powerful as any other leadership dimension.
  • Knowledge is literally the substance of change
  • First, principals must make teaching and learning the driving focus.
  • I am saying principals should make ongoing instructional expertise a priority for themselves, as well as for their teachers.
  • Molding good leadership by coaching, praising, and empowering others (Munby, 2007)
  • There are many reasons principals should seek peer interaction with other schools.
  • No matter how you cut it, school principals have new opportunities and new obligations to help their schools participate in purposeful peer networks.  The school benefits, the system benefits.
  • Stimulating purposeful interaction – horizontally and vertically – provides the glue that helps complex systems to focus.
  • Six guidelines for principals:
  1. De-privatize teaching.
  2. Model instructional leadership.
  3. Build capacity first.
  4. Grow other leaders.
  5. Divert the distractors.
  6. Be a system leader.
  • One of the most powerful instructional practices involves assessment literacy – the strategic use of data to improve teaching on a daily basis (assessment for learning), and the capacity to monitor results and engage the external accountability system.
  • Six tasks of leadership identified by Tim Brighthouse (2007)
  1. Create energy
  2. Build capacity
  3. Meet and minimize crises
  4. Secure and enhance the environment
  5. Seek and chart improvement
  6. Extend the vision of what is possible
  • Districts need to promote transparency while playing down judgmentalism.

Good To Great

17 Jun

I am again listening to one of my favorite books Good To Great by Jim Collins.

One section particularly struck me today, and I think the words are worth listening to, especially for school leaders who believe in learning and leading infused with technology:

We need to be leaders who think about “technology” as a piece, yes a major piece, but a piece in the puzzle.  School leaders must be grounded in best practices, and be lifelong learners!  We need to be able to model great teaching, support our teachers, share leadership, help establish quality PLNs, encourage collaboration, analyze and use data to help adjust practices, be open to paradigm shifts, design professional development that leads to student results, and work systematically and systemically with our district.

Wow!  The role of the school leader is an important one and there are so many pieces to the puzzle!

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Learn From Big Time CEOs

12 Jun

I was reading a book review on Scott Mcleod’s blog tonight and an ad by Google was on the sidebar.  Now normally I ignore these ads but this one caught my attention:

This actually looks pretty cool!  Although you have to pay for the full length videos there may be an inspiring snippet here and there.  I look forward to checking this site out!