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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Renegade Leadership -- Creating Innovative Schools For Digital-Age Students

Renegade Leadership by @GustafsonBrad  provides practical suggestions and personal examples on building relationships when moving forward with pedagogy and innovation. Brad provides guidance to school leaders and stresses the importance of 21st Century Learning and how it impacts the culture of our schools. The book and web site  provide choice for our own professional learning as an instructional leader.

I first met Brad  at the @MACUL2015 conference in Detroit Michigan. He was on an expert panel with other instructional leaders sharing their varied experiences with movement of 21st Century Learning. As he I did then and as in the book, I have been able to take valued advice and employ to my own instructional leadership pathway. 

 Renegade Leadership

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


4. Share some of your best ideas for building relationships and a culture of trust in your position?
Building relationships and creating learning culture of trust produces a more rewarding work environment. Whenever people feel like they can reach out to one another for help and support, individuals begin to operate as teams. Schools that encourage these qualities of collaboration also see growth in school culture, student outcomes, and job satisfaction. Success begins when we first create an environment where people know why they come to work, how their roles are defined, and what they can do to develop their strengths. Before school starts I make every effort to touch base with staff on a personal level. Showing that you care about what staff do after school hours makes them realize that there are other priorities in their lives. Quick chats can be as simple from going to the gym or what they watched on TV last night. Sometimes these subtle conversations lead to school and you learn about how they are doing in their classroom. You can determine if they are moving forward or if they are working through difficult issues. You must seek the input of others along the way and reflect on how are you frequently teaming, collaborating, and talking with others.


“Schooling” refers the act of being in school for the purposes of what happens therein. “Learning” refers to the acquisition of knowledge, or skills through experiences, study, or being taught. With this, the focus should be on learning. Every child can learn, and it is up to us to help each of them find his/her ideal learning environment and flourish in it. If the emphasis is on schooling, then students are forced to participate in school regardless of their learning styles.
Personalized education is the key to learning, and any truly great education ultimately boils down to learning that is personalized, individualized and founded on a deep love of learning.
Every time I look at this graphic I can only infer as to “where schools are today” and “where schools should be.”

Here is my attempt to combine the statements to make something new:

1.       “School promotes developing your own questions and finding answers.”
2.       “School is about developing producers”
3.       “School promote sharing your passions and developing your interests”
4.       “School is about questioning beliefs”
5.       “School always takes place where you are”
6.       “School is shared and collective”
7.       “School is personalized”
8.       “School promotes that everyone is a learner”
9.       “School is about making personalized connections”
10.   “School promotes current and real-life experiences”    
11.   “School promotes deep learning”


1.      How do you create or build on these conditions to support innovation? What has been the impact on those you serve?

If we want to create a culture of innovation, we must first focus on furthering our own learning and growth. All of your stakeholders must believe you are of integrity before they will believe or invest in ideas for growth or change. No amount of strategy, planning, or communicating works without trust. Trust is built through relationships over time. Before introducing a new innovative concept to my school community a great deal of learning is involved on my part ensuring that the principal is the lead learner. When the Principal can demonstrate his/her learning, the school will take his/her lead learning of direction.  This culture the Principal promotes is then advocated by the community and is benefited by all stakeholders.

Friday, March 10, 2017


Learning from colleagues and the sharing of resources is the biggest strength we have for our own professional growth. The most valuable thing I get from my PLN is the openness that educators are willing to try something new. We just finished our second round of #PLT's  (Principal Learning Team) Visits and the alignment of our 21st Century Learning system goals has provided our schools with direction that innovation can be the norm.
In my own school community I have had several opportunities to make some changes in the learning of staff, students and parents. It is not about having to change these stakeholders, it simply understanding the world is changing. Fostering collaboration with others will inspire growth. Not always fast, but small movements toward innovation. As administrators we need to provide pathways of thinking to ensure that our teachers have the resources to learn, create, and innovate and grow in this direction. This is our biggest challenge to be able to think of new ways and do it better.
Classroom teachers want to change and the need support of their principals.  As an administrator you need to promote your teachers to take risks and try new ideas without having them worry about covering all of the curriculum. As an administrator you need to find that balance between your experiences and the willingness to try something new. Failure is easier to question and challenge!! With anything new and different this can seem threatening. However, if you don't try and tinker with your ideas you will not know "What is Best For This Learner?"

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