Friday, September 6, 2013

Marc Shelton

President, NCPEA

George Fox University

A New Year to Re-flect, Re-think, and Re-conceptualize How We Prepare School Leaders

If you are like me, you have been pulled kicking and screaming from the last days of summer to preparing or perhaps even beginning to teach courses this week.  This is the stuff of life that we know as professors of educational administration – preparing for the important work of our profession mixed with the events of our personal lives attending to day-to-day realities of being fully human.  Within the past month many of us within NCPEA busily moved from teaching summer school sessions, where we work hard and smart to prepare future leaders, to attend to our personal learning and development in the Meadowlands of New Jersey.  There we corporately convened our 67th annual conference led by the NCPEA president Carol Mullen and graciously hosted by a team of professors led by Drs. Gerry Babo and Don Leake through the state affiliate of NJ-NCPEA. 

This summer on the East Coast we listened together to hear perspectives on the important work we do, to share stories of what is working in our classrooms, to present the results of our research, and to be challenged to lead our profession into the future through writing, teaching, speaking, and serving.  We were refreshed during conversations with friends and seeing the sites of New York City, and blessed by taking some time to remember those who are no longer working among us, who led by action in taking time away from their work schedules of preparing school leaders to invest in the future of this active and vibrant community of professors of educational administration.  And now we are back to the work that comes with a new academic year – so welcome to the continuous cycle of working, reflecting, refreshing, and returning to our work to innovate, invent, and imagine – again.

We also heard about the progress we are making as an organization in the area of publications – progress to promote the knowledge base for leadership within schools in the United States and the world.  Ted Creighton and Brad Bizzell, NCPEA publications directors, presented samples of significant work from our professor-members.  Jim Berry, executive director, posed criteria for making crucial decisions that face the executive board this year – the “how and how much” approach to determine investments of time and money to strategically grow our role as a publisher within the field of educational administration.

One such project was the publication of an NCPEA position paper arguing for an interrelated approach to teacher leadership, which was presented by Dr. Berry to the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA) in the fall of 2012.  Specifically, to implement this concept requires rethinking how we prepare school leaders and modeling collaboration among faculty in higher education and between universities and the schools for which we prepare leaders.  The executive board approved using this September Talking Point space to pose some questions about how we design educational administration curriculum and instruction to expand the perception and preparation of teacher leaders.  Listening to your answers is important to our next step in shaping the national conversation and aggressively implementing our NCPEA action plan to strengthen teacher leadership.

Please take some time to think about and reply to the following prompts to help formulate the eventual NCPEA policy brief that is scheduled for publication this fall.  Blessings to you as you embark on the journey of your new academic year!   

NCPEA members, we invite you to respond to the following questions in this blog and to add any additional questions or comments.

Thoughts to Prompt Your Thinking

·         Leadership matters in schools, so we need to be aggressive in how we prepare school leaders
·         “Not to say we do it better, but to show we do it differently” – with an effective humility
·         Considering a thought, both expressed by Nel Noddings’ Keynote and in Jim Cibulka’s Cocking Lecture (click here for slides), we need to prepare leaders who are willing and able to navigate politics to aggressively advocate for and influence decisions to develop sound policy that promote educators and our profession to better serve children and families.

The NCPEA distinctive in preparing school leaders (NOTE: The majority of school leaders working within schools today are prepared in programs where our NCPEA professor-members work)

     Collaborative, democratic, participatory & personal approach to preparing school leaders
     Bigger vision for how & why we are preparing teacher leaders with rigor and relevance
     NCPEA professors speak, write & teach

·         Why should we lead from within our Ed. Admin. programs in preparing teaching leaders?

·         What are your program’s vision and ideas for preparing school leaders? And how will school leadership change if your program’s ideas are implemented?

·         How do you present a larger perspective of leadership, specifically teacher leadership, in your program?

·         What knowledge & skills differ from what is learned from educational administration and from teacher education perspectives?

·         Provide some examples of collaboration within your college or university to prepare effective teacher leaders?

·         Provide some examples of collaboration among your P-12 school partners to prepare effective teacher leaders?

·         Thank you!