Sunday, July 26, 2015

Musings on Leadership, Change, and #EdTech

As I am driving my SUV and family guinea pig from Staten Island, NY to Texas (more to come on this later) I took the opportunity, when my father was at the wheel, to peruse my professional Facebook page.  As I looked through my updates I noticed that I had posted quite a few quotes, ideas, thoughts, and opinions on leading change.  The idea then popped into my head that I should archive all of these in a blog post. Maybe some of you will find value in them (or maybe not). 

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Without further ado:
Don't prepare learners for something. Prepare them for anything. 
Negative people have a problem for every solution. Don’t let these people bring you down. Rise up and model a better way. 
All kids have greatness hidden inside them. It is the job of an educator to help them find and unleash it.  
Technology is not the key to transforming education…..educators are! 
Energy is precious. Spend it to make a difference. Don't waste it on constant indifference. 
Failure is often learning in disguise. 
We lead not to have people follow, but to inspire others to take action and unleash their own leadership capabilities. 
Blended instruction is what the teacher does with tech. Blended learning is where students use tech to have control over path, place, and pace. 
What you do today could very well transform the life of someone tomorrow. Never underestimate the potential of your actions to make a difference. 
A child who loves going to school typically loves to learn. That’s the type of culture we need to replicate. 
Learning for students needs to be REAL: Relevant, Engaging, Authentic, Lasting 
For so long we have learned to do. What we need now is the opposite; do to learn...especially in schools. 
It all comes down to relationships. Without trust there is no relationship. Without relationships no real learning occurs. 
Leadership is not a popularity contest. Make the tough decisions instead of trying to please everyone. 
The ability to move others outside their comfort zones begins with your own journey to do the same. 
Great leaders build capacity in others knowing full well that it takes more than one person to successfully implement change. 
A testament to true leadership is one's ability to not just initiate change, but also sustain it. 
If you don't tell your story someone else will. Digital leadership is about becoming the storyteller-in-chief to take control of your public relations and build a positive brand presence. 
Reach for the sky and experience your potential. Reach for the stars and discover unlimited potential. 
Success is achieved when you zero in on a goal with an undeniable focus and a determination to overcome an array of challenges. 
Real change comes from colleagues modeling expectations to others, not from those with titles. 
Respect is a fickle thing. It is not earned through opinion, talk, and putting down others, but rather example and action. 
Anyone can come up with ideas. Implementing them in a way that leads to efficacy is the hard part. 
If you truly believe a certain way is better put that belief into action to inspire others to change. 
Don’t just give opinions. Illustrate how your opinions have been implemented in some way to change educational practice. 
Mediocrity is a choice. So is choosing to get better each day. The choice is yours. 
Technology will not revolutionize education. Educators who effectively integrate technology to enhance and support learning will. 
Actions speak louder than words, sound bites, and rhetoric. Model for others and change will follow. 
Don't ask others to do what you won’t. 
Digital leadership is about working smarter, not harder, by enhancing professional practice with the assistance of technology. 
You can complain about the decisions made by someone else or take the initiative and make your own. 
As a leader if you are making students conform to your views and ideals about the structure and function of school without their input you have it all wrong. You work for them; it's their school, and most importantly their voice matters! 
Stop telling people what they need to do and instead take them where they need to be. 
Digital leadership is not an add-on or about giving one more to do. It is a natural compliment to the work school leaders are already doing. It is time to do what you do better. 
An idea is wasted if it is not acted upon leading to change in culture and/or practice. Instead of conformity, rules, and maintaining status quo schools need to focus on choice, ownership, and autonomy. 
Don't expect others to change professional practice if you are not modeling those same expectations. 
Engagement, relevance, and fun are great, but make sure there is observable evidence that students are learning when integrating technology.  
Change doesn’t always mean something new. Often it relies on a mindset shift to improve the initiative already in place. 
Leadership needs to be an active part of professional development by learning side by side with teachers.
The hardest challenge you will face is not changing yourself, but convincing or empowering your colleagues to embrace change. 
It is important to understand that words mean different things to different people and that’s quite ok.  
Don’t use the excuse of students going off task with mobile devices if you do the same thing in a setting where you shouldn’t. 
When building a shared vision and making important decisions impacting school culture make sure students have a seat at the table. 
It’s not our future we are preparing students for, but their’s. We can ill afford to prepare them for a world that won’t exist.
Engaging kids in a conversation about the value of school can and will pave the way to a brighter future. We need to listen, then act. 
Change does not result from speaking into a vacuum. Ideas and actions must extend well beyond social media and edtech cliques.

Never miss an opportunity to show gratitude or bestow kindness on another person. Small, selfless acts like these don’t take much effort, but can totally change the trajectory of other people and maybe even yours. 

You won’t find an effective leader who isn’t an effective communicator. 

          Admitting you don’t know something or need help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

I hope you enjoyed some of my thoughts based not only on observation but also practical experience implementing and sustaining change in schools. I now encourage you to add your thoughts below.


  1. Nice post. Pinned to the Teachstoned Pinterest account.

  2. Sharing this with new admin at VCOE.#leadership

  3. Sharing this with new admin at VCOE.#leadership