Philosophy of Education
Schools as Learning Organizations
The primary philosophy that guides both my personal and professional life is that schools are learning organizations and education is the key to social and intellectual mobility. From this context, our schools provide our students with access and opportunity not available through any other means. As educators, we have a unique ability to help young people shape the future. To help them learn the value of deep, authentic understanding while also providing a context for social connections and a framework for personal growth and individual improvement. Through a shared sense of purpose, focused on the value of education for both the learner and the community, we can establish the foundations for long-term academic growth and organizational sustainability.
Cultivating Instructional Leaders: Education is a people driven business and our mission as educational leaders is to ensure that we provide the systems, structures and frameworks necessary for our faculty, staff and administration to prepare our students for success in a rapidly changing and evolving world. Although the world is becoming more global on a seemingly daily basis, we are making a mistake if we believe that educational improvement can come from and be led by outside sources or external organizations. While we must work with and collaborate with these external stakeholders, our focus should be on growing and supporting local experts. For long-term success, our principals and teacher leaders must provide the direct guidance and localized focus within our schools in order to anchor significant change in our culture and to ensure both communal ownership and individual accountability. Beyond the “what” and the “how” of compliance and state mandates, we have to continually ask ourselves “why”. Why do we teach? Why do we assess? Why do we exist as an organization? State mandates and national programs can inform our answers to these essential questions, but our success will be predicated on our local answers and our collective action.
Supporting Individual and Organizational Growth: At my core I value the intangible benefits of learning and understanding, viewing intelligence and intellectual capacity as the primary results of desire and perseverance. Although there are obvious exceptions, almost everyone can learn virtually anything with the passion and commitment to do so. As an educational leader, I rely on these core values to promote a culture based on organizational growth and personal and professional development. The ability to learn from past failures and to make progressive, consistent progress are essential characteristics of expert learners and effective leaders. We live in a rapidly changing time in education with seemingly few concrete answers to our current challenges. While innate ability and natural aptitude have obvious value, they often are not enough to move an organization forward. Instead, I find individuals who are willing to commit to consistent improvement are most effective at finding fundamental solutions for novel challenges and are the most determined to work through difficulty. Through this lens, we should ensure that our school leaders and managers share in the conviction that everyone, from the classroom to the cafeteria, can improve with appropriate support and resources. In addition, our leaders should encourage active testing of creative solutions and support those who are willing to risk failure for long-term growth. Most importantly, we should mentor and advise the front-line leaders who emerge, providing progressively more rigorous and rewarding responsibilities as each of these individuals develops.
Even in the midst the rapidly changing times we now face, education is an opportunity; an opportunity to re-define what is truly important to our students, our staff, and our community. As an educational leader, I am committed to working with the Board of Education and a cross section of students, teachers, parents, community and legislative leaders to facilitate the growth of our schools into learning organizations. Central to this task is focusing on a shared and common vision of education that promotes the value of interpersonal relationships and collective knowledge and experiences. There is true and meaningful value in the concept of people first. By empowering our people to share their expertise and to take ownership of the many challenges impacting education today we can make long-term, positive growth toward meaning and relevance.