Blogs on School Leadership

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Mark PhillipsSeptember 30, 2013

I love movies, especially good movies about kids and about education. I'm also often disappointed in these films. I've become tired of documentaries extoling or attacking charter schools. I've also seen too many films focusing on at-risk kids in struggling schools that somehow manage to be clichéd, repetitive and boring.

So when I discover films like the two that I want to share with you, films that are truly great in both their substance and the quality of the filmmaking, I feel uplifted and hopeful. They renew my faith in both public education and great documentary filmmaking. The two films are The New Public and The Graduates. I plan to review the latter film just before its wide release in late October. But The New Public airs nationally on PBS on October 1, so let's start with that one.

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Mark PhillipsSeptember 23, 2013

It's school board election time in communities all across the country. Hopefully, most of these are contested elections. It isn't easy finding good people to run for what is usually an unpaid, time intensive and highly challenging job. And however good he or she may be, every incumbent running for reelection should have to stand the test of accountability that a contested election provides.

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Maurice EliasJuly 18, 2013

We know a lot about effective leadership in education -- and we keep learning the same lessons over and over. Between 1989 and 2000, Mark Goldberg interviewed 43 leaders across a spectrum of positions in or related to education. He spoke with men and women of varied ethnicity and age, some for whom English was not their first or even primary language.

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Scott TaylorJuly 9, 2013

Until several years ago, I had a hard time confronting my subordinates with direct, straight-up critical feedback. I didn't want the awkwardness I thought would come from telling someone he wasn't doing his job correctly. However, I grew out of this feeling over time and found constructive, professional ways to provide critical feedback.

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Mark PhillipsJune 24, 2013

We can do a much better job of supporting the secondary school experience of our adolescents. I would like to share some ideas for parents, educators and students to think about this summer.

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Dr. Joe MazzaMay 9, 2013

As we near the end of the school year, it's time to take stock of our efforts in teaching, learning and leadership, and how well they’ve worked. We should also be looking at what has or has not worked in regards to engaging all of the families in our school community.

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Scott TaylorMay 2, 2013

Abraham Lincoln inspired me, like so many others, to lead by relationships. Donald T. Phillips (Lincoln on Leadership) and Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals) describe that president as a kind, gentle and genuinely personable man for whom many subordinates deeply cared. He got close to his cabinet, his personal secretaries and his generals, and wasn't afraid to let them into his personal world.

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Ben JohnsonJanuary 31, 2013

I squirmed a bit in the center seat as I responded to questions. One educator after another around the circle asked me probing questions that made me think about my actions. I knew they understood me because they often rephrased what I said. Vocalizing my thoughts helped me to see clearly what my real issues were. Even still, I was hesitant to reveal my concerns, but at the same time I was curious to see where it would lead; I was being coached!

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Matt LevinsonJanuary 15, 2013

I had a conversation a few months ago with a parent about being a school principal. We were talking about the various demands of the job, from the different constituents that a school principal has to work with to the environment of a school. The parent asked me how I would define the job if I had only one word to use.

The word I chose was safety. The parent expressed some surprise and intrigue at my answer. We proceeded to talk about safety on multiple levels, beginning with physical safety, moving to emotional safety and finishing with academic safety.

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Ben JohnsonSeptember 21, 2012

Rarely will a new principal leave things at a school just as they are. Sometimes those changes do need to happen, but the teacher perspective might be the principal is coming in and trying to fix things that aren't broken. Instead of saying, "Throw the bum out!" I have some suggestions to help teachers get off on the right foot with a new principal. (As a principal new to a campus and recently experiencing this.)

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