Professional Learning

A Throughline of Caring

I spent much of 2021 engaging deeply with leaders across the country about the transformational power that school leaders hold for leading equitable school communities. What I learned is that, when positioned properly and truly empowered to lead, principals are the...

Looking Back to Lean Forward: CEL’s 20-Year Journey

Dear partners and colleagues, In 2003, I was a second-year principal. At the time, my school was best known for its low standardized test scores and discipline rates. I thought that my general leadership ability was sufficient to lead a dramatic school turnaround....

Celebrating Growth and Courage

As the year-end approaches, we’re sharing stories of the growth we observed in our partners — even as they grappled with intense day-to-day demands on their time and energy. This post is the second in a series of three stories.

Small Moments, Big Growth: A Year-End Reflection

This past year demanded growth, from technical skills to mindsets, from virtually everyone in education. As the year-end approaches, we’re sharing stories of the growth we observed in our partners. We’re particularly excited to spotlight the shifts and new choices that may appear small, but signaled breakthroughs.

Your Leadership Lights the Way Forward

Dear partners and colleagues, This January has opened as an intense continuation of a year like no other in our collective memory. “Relentless, exhausting and humbling” is how many of you have described 2020. But when I consider your leadership this past year, very...

My role as a leader has changed — and needed to change. Here’s why.

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”  - Maya Angelou   I have a confession to make: I didn’t get into education because I was excited to be a teacher. I went into education because I was eager to work for change in communities,...

What matters most to students and teachers for learning right now

In recent months, educators have had the daunting job of asking and answering, "What does teaching mean now?" They've had to make many impactful decisions and make them quickly — all while working together and teaching remotely. Jody DeGroot, assistant principal at...

Ways to Lead for Instruction Right Now

As schools have changed dramatically over the past month, we have been inspired by what educators are doing to continue leading for instructional improvement. I spoke recently with Chris Lennox, the superintendent of Mounds View Public Schools in Minnesota. Like other...

What’s Next: Schooling or Learning?

By GREG SOMMERS Our current wave of school closures is yielding an unprecedented shift to online and distance learning. Some are meeting this shift with a surge of enthusiasm for innovation. Others are approaching it more cautiously. I wonder — for my own children and...

Principal as the Turning Point: EduTalks 2020

While the impact teachers make on learning is well-understood, there’s less appreciation for how principals can foster learning environments that empower students.  In this six-minute video, Joanna Michelson, director of teacher leadership and learning at the UW...

Recent Posts

Looking Forward with Hope for 2023

This past year was one of unprecedented challenges both inside and out of the classroom. Solving the problems in front of us today demands more than a simple New Year’s resolution; it requires us to reimagine our challenges and commit to new ways of moving forward.

Closing the Distance Between Students and School System Leadership

Students know an equity champion when they see one. In recent CEL equity leadership focus groups, our CEL team asked students to describe their “hero principal.” Students shared attributes of a hero principal like “a history of fighting for social justice” with the...

A Throughline of Caring

I spent much of 2021 engaging deeply with leaders across the country about the transformational power that school leaders hold for leading equitable school communities. What I learned is that, when positioned properly and truly empowered to lead, principals are the...

Humanizing School and District Leadership Through Student Experience

What would happen if school and district leaders used students’ experiences and perspectives as the basis for their leadership? In CEL’s partnerships with school systems, we ask leaders to focus on the experiences of students furthest from justice in their schools and...

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