Leadership in Education

#PracticeMakesPossible: What I Learned at the Leading Educators Institute

Raye Wood is a teacher leader at Burton Elementary School in Greater Grand Rapids.  She is entering her thirteenth year in the classroom, and she completed her Doctorate of Education last spring.  She is a huge advocate for amplifying teacher voice and often blogs about her experiences in the classroom and beyond.

Wow.  Where do I begin?  How can I share with you—through mere words—the energy, the passion and the thirst for change that was the Leading Educators Institute?

I am changed in a way that I did not realize I could still be changed, and I expect that I will be forever grateful.  I’ve been in the classroom for twelve years, and I am hardly new to professional learning. But in just a few short days, I experienced a new kind of learning  that challenged my perspective, changed my expectations, and validated what I know our students need. How amazing is that?

My school was part of the first Leading Educators cohort from greater Grand Rapids.  Having finished my first year at our school as well as the intense process of writing a doctoral dissertation, I joined our school team this spring and attended LEI with the new cohort.  So, there I was with a group of people, many of whom I had never met, walking into four absolutely life-changing days. This group of new friends validated the beliefs I hold and walk with daily, they challenged some of those beliefs with great care, and they helped me stretch my perspective and ways of thinking. Because of them, I am more reflective, more passionate, and even more dedicated to the work I do every day.  Every teacher deserves that gift.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Because my colleagues began leading Leading Educators’ model of content learning and practice at our school last year, I came into the week with the experience of a teacher who has seen the end result of LEI first-hand.  Though, I had already experienced Content Cycle protocols and workshops last year, I gained a deep appreciation for the work having experienced the planning process at LEI.  Everything I was unclear about before burst forth in one large A-HA moment. That in and of itself is powerful. Now, as a “Lead Learner”, I can’t wait to use my content knowledge and passion alongside my colleagues to make our school more equitable for every single child who enters our doors.

  • We had some absolutely amazing guest speakers.  At times, I was moved to tears (in my eyes as well as on my cheeks if we are being totally honest) because I see the mistakes so many of us have made with the best of intentions. I often say, “You don't know what you don't know.”  And LEI showcased some of that. Our keynote speakers admitted to having made mistakes because we all do. Imagine standing before an entire room of educators and admitting that you helped perpetuate false narratives around students of color. That takes serious heart and vulnerability, and it pushed all of us to own our impact.  Dr. GT Reyes noted that you don't have to be the teacher of the year to make a difference, and it made my heart sing.

  • On Thursday, we heard from Lacey Robinson from UnboundEd.  To hear her speak in person was amazing. Again, she boldly shared that she know she has messed up.  To admit that in front of a community of teachers who she didn't know was powerful and brave. One quote really stuck with me: “We have to get past what makes us feel good and do what is right by our students.”  

I look back at my first few years of teaching from my current vantage point and I can see the mistakes I was making. At that time, I used the knowledge that I had and did what I thought was right (Leveled library, anyone?). Once you know you are making the wrong moves and you work toward changing them, you are growing. It is when you know you are making wrong moves but you keep doing what you've always done that we have a problem. We have to be willing to be uncomfortable. We have to be willing to push through that discomfort because it is what will fuel the most important shifts in our practice.

Truly, it's hard for me to fully express how much I appreciate the opportunity to experience LEI in this way. And now when I go back to my school in August as a “Lead Learner”, I'm going to work hard to remember that many of my colleagues don't have the benefit of having the "back story" of the work we are trying to do. I'm going to push for our team to really take a step back for a moment and re-invest ourselves in the bigger picture. To  do our best by students, I fully believe that we have to work together in a way that pushes our thinking, challenges our biases and the false narratives we have inadvertently carried with us, and strive to make education truly equitable for every child regardless of their status, ethnicity, gender, race, welfare, or zip code.

Together, I am certain that we can improve education for all kids.

Leading Educators Prepares for CEO Transition

After nearly eight incredible years at Leading Educators, CEO Jonas Chartock has decided to open the door to new leadership this September.

Jonas is proud of all that the Leading Educators community has accomplished, having grown from a single pilot program in New Orleans to becoming an innovative learning and systems design partner of districts in twelve geographic areas.  Under his leadership, educational equity and collaborative teacher practice have become more deeply ingrained in the programmatic approach--shifts that have helped districts reach record student growth. As a new father, Jonas is excited to spend more time with his family and pursue new opportunities tied to his deep passion for racial equity and social justice policy and activism.

We believe the team at Leading Educators is well prepared to build on ten years of collective progress, and we have chosen Chong-Hao Fu as an internal successor who brings both a deep understanding of our programs and strong relationships with leading districts to this effort.  Jonas will continue to serve as CEO through early September. We look forward to re-introducing you to Chong-Hao and our strategic plan in the coming months.

Leading Educators has always been about collective leadership.  We have worked to be a model of the distributed leadership we expect from our school partners, and our culture reflects that nimble, collaborative approach.  As we enter this next chapter of our story, we know we are about to see many decades of districts producing their best teaching and learning yet.

We thank you for your continued partnership in service of all students.

In community,

Jonas Chartock, Outgoing CEO, Leading Educators

Chong-Hao Fu, Incoming CEO, Leading Educators

Stuart Kaplan, Chair, Leading Educators Board of Directors

Jonas Chartock to Depart as CEO of Leading Educators, Chong-Hao Fu Named Successor

May 8, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT:

Adan Garcia

(202) 510-0827

marketing@leadingeducators.org

 

JONAS CHARTOCK TO DEPART AS CEO OF LEADING EDUCATORS, CHONG-HAO FU NAMED SUCCESSOR

Move marks first leadership transition in organization’s 10-year history

 

NEW ORLEANS, LA - May 8, 2018

Jonas Chartock, who joined Leading Educators as the organization’s first CEO in December 2010, will be leaving his role this September.  

Chartock shared, “In more than seven years, we have grown from a small pilot program with aspirations to positively impact the education of every New Orleans’ student to a critical partner to pioneering school systems in twelve regions and influencing so many more.  Our experience in developing professional learning systems has deepened our understanding of what it will take to accomplish real educational equity, and I am so proud of how well-prepared this team is to enter our next chapter.”

Chong-Hao Fu, Leading Educators’ current Chief Learning Officer, has been unanimously chosen by the board of directors as Chartock’s successor.  As Chief Program Officer and Chief Learning Officer, Fu has led innovative shifts in districts’ teacher and school leader development strategies which have produced accelerated growth in student’s math and English language arts knowledge.  Fu has been with Leading Educators for six years and currently manages partnership, district consulting, development, and thought leadership efforts. Before joining Leading Educators, Fu was the founding principal of KIPP Sharpstown in Houston, TX, one of the highest performing schools in the city and one of the few fine arts schools dedicated to serving lower income students.

During the transition, Leading Educators will be launching new programs in Tulsa, Chicago, and New Orleans that will directly serve approximately 215 new teacher and school leaders.  Partnership teams worked with 730 teacher leaders nationwide in the most recent academic year, influencing 2,920 peer teachers and 73,000 K-12 students.

As a new father, Chartock is excited to spend more time with his family and pursue new opportunities tied to his deep passion for racial and education equity and social justice policy and activism.

“This organization has never been about one person or leader, and Jonas and Chong-Hao have done an incredible job of building a culture of shared progress that will only grow stronger,” said Stuart Kaplan, Board Chair at Leading Educators and Director of Organization Development at Google.

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About Leading Educators

Leading Educators is a national nonprofit organization founded in New Orleans that seeks to improve student achievement by leveraging the positive impact of experienced teachers who take on leadership positions in their schools.  We partner with states, districts, and public charter networks to design professional learning systems that develop the instructional skills and content knowledge of teachers so they can reach better, more equitable student outcomes. www.leadingeducators.org

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Learning and Practicing Strategies to Improve Instruction with DCPS

In mid-July, approximately 600 educators and school leaders from throughout Washington, DC spent two weeks learning and practicing strategies to improve instruction in schools throughout the city. This intensive effort is part of the District of Columbia Public Schools’ (DCPS) LEAP (LEarning together to Advance our Practice) initiative, and it represents a focus on growing teachers’ leadership capacity within classrooms, throughout schools, and across the entire district.

"I learned so much and developed my capacity as a teacher leader. After these two weeks, I feel more confident in the transformation in our students and teachers that LEAP is going to inspire, and feel more secure in my ability to help lead this work as a teacher leader. I am excited for this year!"

Leading Educators worked in close partnership with DCPS to provide the content and expertise needed to design a tailor-made professional development experience for teacher and school leaders from 115 schools. Over the course of two weeks, participants focused on common core content development, pedagogy for literacy and math instruction, planning for implementation, and equity and leadership.  

"This has been one of the most enriching PDs that I have ever experienced. The videos, the exercises, the culture building activities, the learning and sharing protocols were all very beneficial."

LEAP also marked a significant milestone for Leading Educators. While our focus has gradually evolved over the past five years from working with individual teacher leaders from a number of unrelated schools, to supporting teams of teachers who come from the same school, LEAP pushed our engagement even further. Our partnership with DCPS represents the first time that Leading Educators has brought its model of inquiry, practice, and development to teams of school and teacher leaders throughout an entire school district.

This represents a new phase for our work and the large-scale impact that it can have on student achievement. We are excited to build on this new approach, and look forward to the opportunity to continue to partner with DCPS and other districts around the country that recognize the power of teacher leadership to drive instructional and academic excellence.

DCPS Riding the Wave of Teacher Leadership

Leading Educators' Statement on the Connection Between Teacher Leadership & Race in America

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