“Individually and collectively we are the change that promotes excellence, access, stability, and equity in education in service to achieving social justice for all.”Pamela Higgins Harris
The goal of school is to ensure that every child reaches her individual potential. To that end, schools are charged to provide each student with the necessary, individual support. This concept, though easily stated, lacks the complexity that implementation brings. Do we want every child to reach her potential? Yes. Are we willing to provide each child with the support necessary to meet her potential? Of course. How are we going to do that? Team work!
Transformation requires creativity
The mission of schooling has been the same, but the meaning has changed significantly over time. If we have any hope of transforming the system, then we must also do it shoulder to shoulder with our peers and colleagues. The days of reforming education are in the past, and it is now time to transform it into something that truly ensures our current students reach their highest potential.
But this requires strong and committed leadership, and there are no Marvel characters that we can call on to avenge those whom the system has marginalized and failed to support. There is no secret collection of education heroes to come to our rescue. Yet, there are heroes and leaders all around us. An 8th grade math teacher in Topeka; a professor at a University in New York City; a paraprofessional in Miami; a district equity coordinator in Williamsburg. There are transformative leaders all around us executing various roles within our education system, but they cannot do it alone.
What creates transformative leadership?
- Relate to others with mutual respect and regard.
- Eliminate barriers to positive growth and collaboration.
- Agree to disagree without judgment and move on.
- Consider the lived realities and experiences of others, yourself included.
- Help those who challenge you, they could become your greatest ally.
- Offer positive alternatives and be open to compromise.
- Understand other points of view, or be willing to genuinely try.
- Take time to model growth through conflict.
Dynamic leadership is all around us
R.E.A.C.H.O.U.T. to those around you who are not always in traditional leadership roles in order to access the best talent to support transformation. Lead by example, not from the pulpit. This work is complex and challenging, but not impossible. We can change the face of education and the lives of students if we all commit to doing the tough work together.