The Education Network’s Introductory Programs
“To lead is to live dangerously because when leadership counts, when you lead people through difficult change, you challenge what people hold dear – their daily habits, tools, loyalties, and ways of thinking – with nothing more to offer perhaps than a possibility … People push back when you disturb the personal and institutional equilibrium they know. And people resist in all kinds of creative and unexpected ways that can get you taken out of the game, pushed aside, undermined, or eliminated.” [‘Leading with an Open Heart,’ Ronald A. Heifetz & Marty Linsky, 2002]
The extent to which education can realize its potential hinges upon how well those who care can interact effectively with the complex challenges and opportunities they face. Their capacity to adapt to the evolving needs of children, communities and society as a whole hinges on leadership.
The kind of leadership that is called for is not what we normally associate with qualities demonstrated during a critical or very high risk situation. What is called for are people who have the capacity to sustain their stand and the fundamental values that govern their actions and relationships – no matter what the current reality indicates is possible. They can think what cannot be thought, and then act on it, even when others, committed to ‘reality’ unwittingly, or knowingly, place obstacles in the way. They create a clearing that allows for the possibility of what is clearly impossible, and invite others to step into not just the improbable or the difficult but the inconceivable.
Leadership for Education is a three-day program for individuals who are committed to acquiring the fundamental skills to create visions, to inspire the commitment of others, to nurture creativity and to stimulate achievement. When participants apply these skills, they create an atmosphere in which groups effectively collaborate to develop higher quality solutions to instructional problems, and successfully implement school and district-wide initiatives.
An Assistant Superintendent attributed the success of her first year in a new district to her participation in 'Leadership for Education.' A major accountability of her job was the design and implementation of a district-wide initiative. During one of our sessions, she realized that the team members had a history with administrators who had enlisted their support and then discounted their input. She focused on operating with integrity with them, and they gradually stopped wondering if their ideas would be valued. Now she is facilitating a group that shares her commitment to providing teachers and parents with a structure to act in concert based on the needs of the individual students.