Making your Mediocre Strategy Matter:  Strategic Implementation

I’d much rather you implement a mediocre strategy well than a “perfect” strategy half-heartedly.  This may seem like heresy in the modern era of research-based interventions and metanalyses that show effect sizes, but I’ve been saying this to district leaders for years, and I still believe it.   Recently, while facilitating a district back-to-school administrative [...]

2019-09-10T16:11:25+00:00September 10th, 2019|Leadership at the Center|

Repeat After Me: Strategy Before Plan

As I write, policymakers and professional educators in CT are debating the opportunities and challenges of district consolidation.  At the federal level, we’ve just learned that the President has proposed a 10% reduction in Department of Education spending, an elimination of well-established funding streams (Titles II and IV), as well as a new set [...]

2019-03-12T16:14:13+00:00March 12th, 2019|Leadership at the Center|

Getting Micro: Leadership, Dialogue and Moments

Over the course of five hours, I had the opportunity to shadow a leader I have long admired.   I sat in this superintendent’s meetings, followed her as she strolled corridors, observed her conversations with educators, and listened to how she spoke with leadership teams.   It was mesmerizing.   While this leader has granted me permission [...]

2019-02-08T18:51:14+00:00February 8th, 2019|Leadership at the Center|

Taking Instructional Improvement to Task (Part 1 of 2)

I live a privileged professional life. Each year, I am invited to visit dozens of school districts and spend time in hundreds of classrooms kneeling next to students aged 4 to 20.  Whether through the formal process of Instructional Rounds or more casually dropping into classrooms, I am typically working with teachers and administrators [...]

2018-12-20T12:18:40+00:00December 13th, 2018|Leadership at the Center|

Leading for Equity Principles: From the Minds of Educational Leaders

Over the last few years, the Center has cherished the opportunity to bring various educational leaders—superintendents, school administrators, students, teachers, community members, elected officials--into conversations and professional learning experiences about equitable leadership. In these sessions, we regularly create moments where leaders can distill for themselves the most salient ideas.  Over the last month, in [...]

2018-11-28T09:48:12+00:00November 28th, 2018|Leadership at the Center|

Dear Elected (and soon-to-be appointed) Officials, May I Offer A Few Suggestions?

Admittedly, I have come to be a bit—perhaps more than just a bit—skeptical about the prospect of federal or state policy significantly and positively influencing student learning and outcomes.  Of course, policy matters—it shapes the authorizing conditions within which schools and districts operate, offering supports and sometimes creating rather significant barriers.  Yet my years [...]

2018-11-08T14:28:50+00:00November 8th, 2018|Leadership at the Center|

Two Seemingly Conflicting Principles for Educational Leadership

Last week a long-time colleague dropped this gem on me: “Most superintendents and principals who lose their jobs do so not because of their instructional leadership (or lack thereof).”  Let’s refer to this as Rule 1.  His point, I inferred, was that my intensity around helping educators become stronger instructional leaders was a bit [...]

2018-10-31T13:01:12+00:00October 31st, 2018|Leadership at the Center|

Leadership at the Center Blog #2

Join our Reading for Leading Book Club We at the Center like to discuss books.  This summer, if you had dropped by our office during the lunch hour, you may have overheard discussions of works by Edgar Schein, Michael Lewis, Ta-Nehasi Coates, J.D. Vance, Tara Westover, Michelle Alexander, or Peter Block.  It is within [...]

2018-10-31T12:41:16+00:00October 24th, 2018|Leadership at the Center|