Instructional leadership teams (ILTs) can play a key role in creating more equitable schools that give all students the opportunity to thrive. But in our work with schools around the country, we often see a missed opportunity for teams to build clear, shared purpose...
Looking Back to Lean Forward: CEL’s 20-Year Journey
Sep 30, 2021
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....
“I Really Wanted to Get to School on Time”: When Listening Guides Your Leadership
Jun 24, 2021
“Let your curiosity be greater than your fear.”- Pema Chodron “Our unconscious bias whispers, ‘We already have an anti-racist school.’ Our student data shouts, ‘You are not there yet!’ We must embrace the idea that we are all novices in the pursuit of creating a...
Celebrating Growth and Courage
Jun 3, 2021
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
May 18, 2021
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.
What Centering Student Experience Looks like
Apr 8, 2021
What does centering students look like in action? What characteristics should a leader look for as evidence of equity and learning-centered practice? In this excerpt from a recent webinar, Jose Rivera, assistant superintendent of Grandview School District, Wash.,...
Getting Better to Lead for Equity, a Webinar
Feb 11, 2021
We don't yet know what far-reaching impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on students. What we do know is that classrooms need to be as equitable as possible — and support rigorous learning — now. But what does that look like, especially with ongoing and sometimes...
Listening to Center Student Experience
Jan 28, 2021
After embarking on creating a “framework” that centers the experience of students, the CEL team learned that the adults at school really need to listen hard. What does listening hard look like in action? Watch this video to learn more.
Your Leadership Lights the Way Forward
Jan 12, 2021
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...
What the Four Dimensions of School Leadership Looks Like in Action
Dec 17, 2020
Brandon White is the chief academic officer at South Bend Community Schools in Indiana. When working with school leaders, his approach is that "we as educators must be involved in learning ourselves." Lisa Rooney, director of framework development and support, spoke...
How the Four Dimensions of School Leadership Creates Focus in a Pandemic
Dec 10, 2020
Lindsey Samec is an elementary school principal at Mounds View Public Schools in Minnesota. Like so many other school leaders across the country, she's had a lot to think about and manage this past year for her students to be able to learn and grow. Michele Mason,...
When students feel happy and proud — the Student Experience Story Guide
Dec 3, 2020
“My favorite day of school was when it was my birthday because everybody said hello to me, and I wish that happened every day.”— a Seattle-area student, when asked to reflect on their best school experiences For years, CEL has had frameworks around practice,...
Watch now: How we lead for equity
Oct 22, 2020
"We don’t believe that equity lives in a dimension on its own. As an effective leader, you don’t just lead for equity when you craft a vision and mission — it affects everything you do." - Michele Mason You believe in equity-driven leadership. But how do you turn...
My role as a leader has changed — and needed to change. Here’s why.
Oct 15, 2020
“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,...
The Pandemic Revealed Inequities — and New Ways to Address Them
Aug 18, 2020
In a “normal” school year on a “normal” school day, Stacy Thomas, the executive director of teaching and learning for Blaine School District, bounces between each of the district’s schools, which are housed on one campus. Blaine is a district in rural Washington near...
What matters most to students and teachers for learning right now
May 4, 2020
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
Apr 20, 2020
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...
Principal as the Turning Point: EduTalks 2020
Mar 20, 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...
Acknowledging Courage on Display
Mar 18, 2020
CEL's mission is to support the work of courageous education leaders across the country. The leaders we work with show their courage each and every day in classrooms, schools and school system central offices. Over these past couple of weeks, I’ve observed with awe...
Building Leadership Capacity
May 25, 2011
By DICK FLANARY, Senior Director of Leadership Programs and Services at the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Accountability is the mantra for today’s schools. Expectations for schools are ever increasing, and sanctions for poor performance include...
Students Helping Students Share Their Stories
Mar 30, 2023
In 2019, the team at the Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) realized that as we re-envisioned our frameworks and resource materials to center student experiences, we needed to bring students more directly into our work. Working first with students from three...
Courageous Leadership in Prioritizing Equity in Schools
Mar 23, 2023
Students in elementary school have a lot to say. They are very thoughtful, and they are incredibly observant. They're not afraid to share their authentic experiences. -- Dr. Randi Lowe, Superintendent of Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union This year, the...
Looking Forward with Hope for 2023
Jan 3, 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
Feb 15, 2022
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
Jan 11, 2022
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...