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pete reilly

Wow! I can feel your passion and commitment in this post. I applaud your self-honesty, your self-reflection and your sense of accountability.

I come from an orientation that believes in "embodied leadership". I believe people follow leaders who embody their beliefs, values, and purpose. When the leader's actions are aligned with what they say they believe or value, then trust is built with those around them.

In order to embody something, especially a new behavior, generally one must practice it. The practices you engage are very specific to the individual person.

If I am lecture or statement oriented and would like to spark more dialogue, then I might want to practice asking questions, rather than making declarative statements. Practicing this can be very uncomfortable because it is so automatic for the person to make statements and so unusual for them to ask questions.

My point is, that all the great research and advice is great...for example "clarity and communication of learning outcomes"


Knowing that is what we need to do, does not equip us with the ability to do it. Doing it takes a personal commitment to change and to practice.

A great example is losing weight. We know that if we eat the right foods and exercise, we will maintain our proper weight and be healthy...but; knowing that is the formula for success doesn't make it happen. Making it happen is a personal journey that entails many things that the "formulas for success" don't discuss.

I believe that in order for us to implement the great research and strategies you listed, successfully, we need to look within ourselves to inventory the gifts we have that we can put into the service of change; and the areas we need to strengthen in order to be more effective. From there will come the practices that will help us embody the new behaviors that will make these strategies "come alive".

In appreciation and gratitude,

Kimberly Moritz

Greg--in my humble opinion, this is the best post to date on LeaderTalk. You deliver the message in a powerful way at an appropriate time, summer break. I can actually read, reflect, and think about everything you've said. I'm going to read your post again, a couple of times, and take the time to think about all of the points made. I am the school manager, it's how I spend 95% of my time when I want to be the instructional leader, taking care of all of the action plan goals you've described. Thank you. Kimberly

Christian Long

Greg - My only 'fault' with this post was finding out after-the-fact that you were in my town of Ft. Worth for this...and I didn't have the head's up to take you out to dinner or coffee depending on your schedule.

Beyond that (minor tangent), I echo the thoughts of Kim and Pete in expressing gratitude for your passion and focus. Your faculty/kids/community will be brilliantly served by your re-focus (and core intentions that have probably been there since 'day one').

Next time you're in Ft. Worth, please drop me a line. Love to get a chance to hear how this story continues to unfold.

Cheers, Christian

P.S. I just placed 2 of Schlechty's books on my living room shelf today, as a matter of fact, and also appreciate that you brought up Parker Palmer in your 'almost' list.

Kelly Christopherson

I applaud the work that you have done to bring you to this point and the strength it took to bring it forth. As I read through this, and I will read it again, I kept nodding, seeing how each point you made would affect my own school and community.
Your list of reading is, coincidentally similar to my own although I have a few more from Dufour and less from Fullan. As I read through "The Learning Leader" by Douglas Reeves, what you are saying comes through loud and clear. Many people are frustrated by the lack of progress but there are many who are equally frustrated with the constant change as we jump from fix-it to fix-it ideas with no real apparent change in what is happening in relation to students.
Having read several of your previous posts, I agree with our need to grab hold of the new technologies, to provide time for teachers together and to be the educational leaders of our schools.
Again, great post Greg


What a dynamic presentation! I hope that your "Disruptive Innovation" sweeps the country. The only piece I feel might be missing has been a hot topic in the educational blogisphere recently: student voice. would you include students in the collaboration and staff development phases of your Action Plan?

Cheryl Doig

I thoroughly enjoyed your passion and your challenges. I was looking at my bookshelf and have many of the same books - time to consolidate and to become disruptive - first in thought then in action. As they say, innovation doesn't happen unless there is action taken.

I have added a link to your blog to my website so that other educators, especially those in NZ and Australia, can easily read your information. Keep pushing, keep sharing, keep absolutely believing in the need to change.

Daniel Winters

Here here! Head nodding in agreement with all the positive comments. If we all decide to shrink the knowing-doing gap in our own professional practice, many more will follow.

Kevin W. Riley

I threw this out as a comment on a recent post that Pete provided... but I kinda think it fits well here too with all of you rebels with a cause. Hope it's cool to do a re-mix...

On the premise that only radical leadership will produce radically different results...

"The Milagro Manifesto: A Subversive Leader's Guide to Leading a School From the Ruins"

(Based on my experience at Mueller Charter School (www.thelightsofelmilagro.com)

1. Eschew the Brand-- create your own brand that defines excellence even while external forces concoct new ways to define public schools as underperforming ('program improvement")

2. Turn Over New Rocks-- Start reading the publication "Fast Company" (www.fastcompany.com) and learn just how universal the characteristics of good leadership, organizational change, and innovation really are...

3. Curse the Darkness-- Ultimately, ending the academic achievement gap in America is not going to come from NCLB policies but from public policy that provides all children access to health care (including vision, hearing, and dental) and policies that address inequities in employment, the economy, housing, higher ed., etc., etc. So be an advocate in your community for policies that get to what hurts kids. And poverty hurts.

4.Lose the Tie-- Sometimes you just have to rip off the tie (and whatever that tie represents) unbutton your shirt and roll up the sleeves. (BTW... I noticed kids relate more to my tattoos than my ties!)

5. All Hail Che Guevara-- Find examples of courageous leadership in untraditional places... it was Guevara that said "Let me say, at the risk of seeming ridiculous, that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love."

6. Play Hurt-- All good athletes can play through injuries and pain. Good leaders do too. "What doesn't kill me makes me strong!"

7. Unleash the Lab Rats-- Innovate, fail, innovate, fail, innovate some more, fail some more: "If we want to succeed we have to double our failure rate!" (Founder of IBM)

8. Whisper the Vision-- Shhhhhhh....gently remind them when they are acting like adults that our mission overrides all other issues...

On second thought... don't whisper...

9. SHOUT the Vision-- It's all "Eyes on the Prize"-- our mission is bigger than any of us and our mission is about kids! Stay above the BS.

10. Find the Holy Grail-- No excuses, no turning back, no whining, no quitting... find the solutions to overcoming poverty, and low industry expectations and community lethargy and political grandstanding and create schools that are worthy of the kids they serve.

Oh,,, and when you have finished reading the long list of books written by all the "experts" who presumably know more about school leadership than school leaders do... write your own.

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