Supervisor of Instruction
Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow. – William Pollard
I will support students, teachers, and administration to ensure that students can successfully contribute to an ever-changing world by:
- Researching and executing relevant and innovative professional learning that will enable teachers to reach an ever-changing student body.
- Researching and executing individualized student programs that directly relate to 21st century skills.
- Collaborating with community members to build relationships among schools and to foster student networks.
- Remaining present and available to address faculty and staff needs.
- Create a virtual, self-guided professional development website and/or Google Classroom that will allow teachers to take ownership of their learning.
- Recruit innovative teachers in each school to contribute professional development needs, brainstorm creative ideas, pilot new programs, and become PD coaches.
- Provide professional development support for teachers using an “I do, WE do, YOU do” model.
- Develop a professional learning coaching/follow-up system to ensure teachers have the help they need to be successful in executing 21st Century teaching and learning strategies.
- Encourage individualized learning through professional development focused on effective differentiation.
- Using data to reflect on teaching rather than learning. Moving from “They don’t get it!” to “How can I teach it?”.
- Emphasize frequent and genuine writing in all content areas and electives.
- Continual feedback paired with multiple opportunities to improve.
- Collaborate with schools to assemble student-based teaching and learning teams that will provide feedback about programs they would like to see implemented or enhanced.
- Develop student certification/recognition programs for work and/or college readiness.
- Build relationships with community partners to facilitate work/college readiness program and certification.
- Encourage students to have an active role in their education by creating individualized learning plans.
Inspired by Seth Godin’s Tribes, my philosophy of educational leadership aligns with his six C’s: Challenge, Culture, Curiosity, Charisma, Communication, Commitment, and Connection.
Leaders challenge the status quo.
Leadership is about not being satisfied with the way things are and knowing that there are always opportunities for improvement and innovation. A person cannot be called a leader if they are not leading toward these improvements and goals. I am never satisfied with the way things are or have always been. Even as a teacher, my job is to continually look for ways to improve teaching and learning in my classroom. Students are in a constant state of flux. They find new ways to communicate, connect, and become involved in their world with each passing day. Therefore, teachers should change their teaching to meet students where they are. A leader is someone who sees the constant flux in the world and adapts accordingly.
Leaders create a culture around their goal and involve others in that culture.
Leaders cannot effect change if they do not have the support of their tribe. Much of that support comes from having a shared and positive culture. Having had several leaders myself, and having seen the various types of culture these leaders foster, it is clear to me that people follow those who make them feel valued and necessary to the success of the school. As a leader, it is my responsibility to cultivate that positive culture that makes schools successful. This includes involving members of my tribe in important decisions regarding change, soliciting ideas and suggestions about goals, and celebrating successes.
A leader also fosters relationships with everyone involved in the educational community. These relationships include those with parents, teachers, businesses, and the community as a whole. As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Without the support of everyone in the community, the education of a child cannot reach its full potential. Leaders should cultivate these relationships through positive communications such as celebrating teachers who set an example of innovative and meaningful student learning in their classrooms, hosting “meet the teacher” nights for parents, or asking local businesses to speak to students about future careers.
Leaders have an extraordinary amount of curiosity about the world they’re trying to change.
A leader never stops learning, and curiosity is the key trait that facilitates this life-long thirst for knowledge. When a leader is faced with a problem, they must make a well-informed and intelligent decision, which is impossible to do without wide a base of knowledge and experience. As a teacher, I read journals, blogs, tweets, and anything else I think will contribute to my knowledge so that I can stay current in any teaching and learning innovations that I can use in my classroom to promote more effective learning. I attend conferences to gain knowledge and have conversations with fellow educators that will allow me to bring back new ideas and methods to my classroom.
A leader has this same responsibility to know the most innovative methods and pass them on to teachers and other leaders. Improving teaching and learning does not stop once a person leaves the classroom. If anything, the curiosity that drives knowledge is more important as a leader than in any other position in education. Teachers have very little time to seek out new ideas regarding teaching, which is why it falls on the administrator to sift through the piles of research and shared experiences so that they may pass along the most relevant and innovative information to their teachers.
Leaders use charisma (in a variety of forms) to attract and motivate followers.
Although it’s never been said that I have natural charisma, per se, what I do have are passion and enthusiasm. Leaders are excited about their passions, which, inevitably, gets others excited, too. This positive energy radiates from leaders and is soaked up by their tribe. It is a simple concept, but being positive, passionate, and enthusiastic about improvement, innovation, and change makes others see those things as less of a burden.
Leaders communicate their vision of the future.
A leader has a vision and wants to see that vision through to fruition, which is impossible without communication. An idea, an innovation, a vision is nothing if it isn’t made known and acted upon. A vital role in communicating a vision is having clear goals, a clear mission, and a clear way of conveying them.
Leaders commit to a vision and make decisions based on that commitment.
As an educational leader, I commit to improving education for students. Each decision made will be made based on the premise that it is best for students. Determining what is best for students is more than just deciding, it is using research, experience, and data to truly determine what will most benefit student learning. This is one aspect of being an educational leader that will never change. Leading is putting aside what one may want to do or what may be easy to do and doing what is right for students in every situation.
Leaders connect their followers to one another.
Finally, leaders know how to connect people for the good of all. When two people in two different schools have similar ideas, for example, they should connect to flesh out those ideas with conversations, brainstorming, and collaboration. The most valuable and innovative ideas come from collaboration, from conversations, and from a collective goal and mission. It is a leader’s responsibility to find people who could benefit from connecting and help them connect.
A selection of readings that have been useful in developing an Administrative mindset and solidifying big ideas.
Arens, S. A., & Lewis, D. (2017). ESSA offers opportunity to use data to benefit all students. Changing Schools, 77(Spring 2017), 7-9.
Clark, T., & Miller, K. (2017). Stakeholder surveys guide educator improvement in districts across Kansas. Changing Schools, 77(Spring 2017), 4-6.
Cuorus, G. (2018, September 25). “Success is a catalyst for failure.” Retrieved November 18, 2018, from https://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/8547
Godin, S. (2008). Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. London, UK: Penguin Group.
Goodwin, B. (2017). To use data effectively, start with MINDSETS. Changing Schools: Measuring What Matters, 77 Spring, 18-19. Retrieved November 07, 2018.
Lunenburg, F. C., Ornstein, A. C. (2012). Educational administration: Concepts and practices (6th Ed.). Belmont: Thomson & Wadsworth.
Reeves, D. B. (2000). The 90/90/90 Schools: A Case Study. In Accountability in Action: A Blueprint for Learning Organizations(pp. 185-208). Englewood, CO: Advanced Learning Press.
Rouleau, K., & Scott, B. (2016). Professional learning from the inside out: Putting teacher curiosity first. Changing Schools: Turning Improvement Inside Out, 75 Spring, 6-9. Retrieved November 7, 2018
Watters, A. (2011, July 25). How data and analytics can improve education. O’Reilly: On Our Radar. Retrieved October 31, 2018, from https://www.oreilly.com/ideas/education-data-analytics-learning
Van Barneveld, C. (2008). Using data to improve student achievement. What Works: Research Into Practice, 15. Retrieved from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/literacynumeracy/inspire/research/using_data.pdf
to be continued…