leading educators

Welcome, Chancellor Wilson!

On December 20, 2016, Antwan Wilson was unanimously confirmed as the new Chancellor of DC Public Schools (DCPS). An educator for over 20 years, Wilson most recently served as the superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District where he was credited with helping to raise achievement scores in Oakland schools. Wilson is now set to take the helm at DCPS on February 1st.

Since the October departure of former Chancellor Kaya Henderson, Leading Educators, along with others in the education reform community, has followed the appointment process for a new Chancellor with great interest. Over the past four years, we have worked in close partnership with DCPS to support instructional improvement through the Learning Together to Advance Our Practice (LEAP) initiative. This district-wide programming is designed to embed high quality professional learning and leadership development opportunities into the district’s wider plan to improve the quality of teaching and learning that takes place in individual classrooms and schools. The innovation and potential impact of this district-wide approach was recently profiled in the Washington Post, underscoring the powerful culture of shared learning that is part of DCPS’ teacher leadership and instructional improvement efforts.

Under the leadership of Chancellor Wilson’s predecessor, Kaya Henderson, DCPS became the fastest improving urban school district in the country. Leading Educators is excited to build a relationship with the new DCPS leadership team in order to continue the momentum that the district has gained. As we look toward the bright future of DCPS, we are encouraged by Chancellor Wilson’s recent comments stating, “Teachers are tremendously important to the success of the students and the district.”  We look forward to continued partnership with Chancellor Wilson to build a brighter future for DCPS and all the children that it serves.   


Season's Greetings from Leading Educators

Dear Leading Educators Community,

As you know, this time of year is commonly referred to as the “Season of Giving,” and we are often reminded that “it is better to give than to receive,” but I have to tell you...2016 has given us some pretty amazing gifts.

This year saw the return of our Leading Educators Institute, where over 200 educators from across the country gathered for four days to grow and refine their teacher leadership practice. It saw the official launch of our LEAP programming in all 115 Washington, DC public schools - the first time we have grown our reach to an entire district. We have begun preparations to roll out our expansion to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and we closed out the year with what is perhaps the biggest gift we could hope for, an Investing in Innovation grant from the Department of Education that will allow us to begin a four-year initiative to develop teacher leaders across the greater Chicago area.

The close of 2016 also finds us overflowing with gratitude for the 814 teachers currently in our Fellowship, the 6,500 teaching colleagues whom they support, and most importantly, the more than 180,000 students that these teachers serve every day. Thanks to your interest and engagement in our work, we are one step closer to realizing our vision of “Great Schools for all students.”  You touch our lives; you touch our hearts, and we are truly grateful.

Warmest wishes to you this holiday season. We hope it brings you joy, peace, and a bright new year.

Jonas Chartock, Chief Executive Officer

Press Release: Leading Educators Scores $3 Million Win For Chicago Schools

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Leading Educators Scores $3 Million Win For Chicago Schools

Leading Educators receives $3 Million federal grant for teacher leadership development in Chicago

NEW ORLEANS, LA -  November 14, 2016

Leading Educators has been awarded a $3 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support the instructional leadership development of teacher leaders across the Chicago metro area over the next four years.

Among one of the “highest-rated” applicants, Leading Educators’ proposed Chicago Common Core Collaborative would expand the implementation of innovative practices shown to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing the achievement gap, decreasing dropout rates, and increasing high school graduation, college enrollment and completion. The i3 funds would allow Leading Educators to work with Chicago principals and teacher leaders to create systemic cycles of standards-aligned professional learning.

“The Chicago Collaborative could represent an unprecedented leap forward in our quest to ensure great schools for all students,” said Jonas Chartock, Chief Executive Officer of Leading Educators. “We believe that a refined model of teacher leadership, with job-embedded, standards-aligned professional learning, working in concert with school administrators, is our strongest tool to ensure college and career readiness for all students, regardless of their background.”

As an i3 awardee, Leading Educators would be poised to continue working with school, district, and philanthropic partners to identify, document, and implement best practices in Chicago and other districts focused on teacher leadership and instructional improvement.

“Leading Educators has learned a great deal about implementing successful teacher leadership initiatives in partnership with school districts and charter schools across the country over the past five years,” said Jay Altman, Chairman of the Leading Educators board. “Their success in helping spread teacher leadership and in facilitating high-performing teams has been inspiring.  Leading Educators’ LEAP partnership with the District of Columbia public schools was pioneering, and I am confident that this new initiative in Chicago has the potential to be equally transformative.”

It is estimated that by project’s end, at least 75% of the teacher leaders who participate in the Collaborative will remain in their communities, serving more than 21,000 students.

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About Leading Educators

Leading Educators raises the academic achievement of students by developing teachers to take on leadership roles within their schools. Incorporated as a 501(c)3 organization in 2011, Leading Educators is the only national program that exclusively supports the leadership and management development of teacher leaders. Using teacher leadership as a vehicle, Leading Educators is building a nationwide movement to ensure all students have the opportunity to succeed in school and life.

Leading Educators’ Boston School Visits

DC Fellow Edwin Dela Torre wrote this reflection after the School Visits Trip to Boston in November. As potential Fellows consider applying for the program, we encourage them to see the insights shared in our current participants' blog posts. 

by Edwin Dela Torre, Leading Educators Fellow in Washington,D.C., Cohort 2013

The saying goes that “it takes a village to educate a child.” And this is even more applicable in today’s world, what with the globalization trend and the world becoming smaller and smaller, that is, getting more and more connected. Connections and networking comprise another trend that affects all sectors of our world, including education. Getting to visit and learn from schools and districts in another city like Boston was s a great opportunity for us Fellows of Leading Educators to connect with our colleagues in that part of the country. And this visit proved to be just that, an awesome learning experience that will strengthen our resolve and re-ignite our passion to make a difference in the lives of our students back here in DC.

It was a mere two and a half days of debriefing (Nov. 13-15, 2013), but I felt like the education situation in Boston (which, I believe, represents the whole country like a microcosm) was presented to us from different angles and perspectives. The Leading Educators’ organizers arranged it so well that we were able to observe a whole gamut of different setups of how education is in Boston, and, by extension, how it is in the whole country. At the time of the actual visits, our small groups saw this angle or that perspective, this style or that emphasis, these grade levels or that special group of students. But during later debriefing and bigger group sharing, we saw the whole picture in its different pieces of the puzzle, like a collage forming a greater canvas.

Finally, with the use of seven different levers for visiting schools, which have also been used in the process of observation itself, we were able to integrate what we learned in small pieces. A great tool indeed, much like a pair of eyeglasses that can help one focus on particular aspects, eliminating other distractors, or putting those “distractors” in their possible frame of integration into the bigger picture.

Moving forward, we are now equipped with such a rich arsenal of experiences, compressed in such a short period of time, but still very useful, if we are able to digest these experiences, and make them our own. And we can eclectically choose what may or may not be applicable to our setting here in the schools and districts in or around our nation’s capital.

Reflections on Leading Educators’ Facilitator Induction: Harnessing the Power of TEAM

On March 9th, fourteen new and seven veteran Leading Educators Facilitators converged on the beautiful campus of Tulane University. We came together not only to learn how to deliver high quality seminars and ground in the Leading Educators culture but, perhaps more importantly, to make these powerful decisions: Who can we be and what can we accomplish together? Our answers to these questions give life, give a spirit to our work. It strikes me that these are the kind of decisions that drive the life of our schools daily, and the answers that the teacher-leaders with whom we work will learn to bring to the foreground in their school communities.

As a facilitator body, we live all over the United States: Colorado, Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, and New York. We have different roles in the landscape of educational transformation: some of us are program directors or administrators working inside public districts, some of us are independent educational consultants and trainers, some of are retired leaders whose spark for impacting the lives of kids and teachers has only gotten brighter over the years. We each bring different strengths and experiences.

As we shared our backgrounds and engaged in hearty dialogue and practice, I realized that our differences converge, like the instruments in a symphony, in a powerful mission and vision:

  1. Our Mission: Re-imagining and delivering a robust, consistent, and sustainably impactful core Leading Educators curriculum
  2. Our Vision: every teacher and every student achieves extraordinary success through strong, impassioned, visionary teacher-leaders.

I am looking forward to what unfolds as we continue to harness the power of team, among our facilitator body and extending into the teams our teacher-leaders create in their schools.

Dawnelle J. Hyland, Transformational Leadership Trainer and Consultant

Dawnelle Hyland’s background spans both educational and corporate domains, where her career has been focused on building impactful, visionary leaders.

She is deeply passionate about supporting teachers in developing their leadership talents, and supporting school administrators in creating thriving, leadership-based school cultures.

Widening Our Scope with Webinars

Our First Webinar: Blended Learning

A slide from our webinar on Blended Learning. Leading Educators launched its first webinar for Fellows and staff on a Saturday morning earlier this month. The timely topic was Blended Learning. This new innovation in education is the fusion of technology and differentiated learning; it brings online education into classrooms and into students’ home lives in order to meet students where they are and allow them to take their own learning to the next level. Blended Learning empowers teachers to work directly in small groups while some of their students are on computers; many of the online programs provide teachers with real-time data reporting out how students are performing in online coursework so that teachers can quickly determine what to reteach or where students may be ready for advanced learning.

The webinar’s objective was to enable participants to create and implement a plan to utilize whatever technologies currently exist in their schools. The webinar allowed time for participants to become familiar with the terminology of Blended Learning, walked participants through potential classroom set-ups to incorporate blended learning, highlighted exemplary schools that modeled various ways to incorporate the technology, and gave participants time to interact with many of the websites and programs that are currently available to teachers and students.

Anna Lavely, a Kansas City Fellow who attended the webinar, had this to say about it:

“The webinar was engaging and interactive which allowed me to visually see and try the new technology rather than just hear or read about it. I have already begun incorporating some of the Blended Learning practices that were addressed in the webinar through the sites shown for the ‘re-teaching’ of concepts in station format.”

Leading Educators is excited to offer more of our professional development sessions to a wider audience via webinar in the coming months. Please stay up to date at @leadingeds and join us on the webinar that’s right for you in the near future!