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Leadership in Transformation

What does leadership mean in a new education environment?


In an environment of transformation and new systems design, leadership is the art of enabling a learning community to move from current to future state by continuously and dramatically improving its capacity to enable better outcomes for all students through influence on the organization itself, its stakeholders and the systems within which it operates. With the release of the paper Leadership for Learning, CIE intends to spark thinking and collaborations that will lead to an actionable understanding of what leadership means in the new education environment.  We hope to challenge the field to think more broadly about the knowledge, skills and dispositions leaders must have to be effective, and the ways they must be supported.


While there are certainly definable, list-able skills and competencies all educators need, rich learning experiences are far more likely to result when educators are developing their practice collegially with a strong sense of purpose and their application of teaching capacities and skills is contextual, coherent and integrated. What does this say about the leadership that is setting the conditions for educators and the learning communities within which they work? We believe it calls into question whether a list of standards or competencies for leadership is adequate or even appropriate. They are essential, but they are not sufficient. Schools are, after all, systems and they are part of much larger systems.


While our paper focuses primarily on individuals as leaders of learners and teams, the work aims to inform larger issues of policy and practice:


  • The redesign of systems that recruit, prepare, select, evaluate and reward teachers and leaders

  • The creation of tools that support self-reflection and self-direction for those already in practice, supporting both individual development and peer collaborations

  • A more coherent view of how leaders, practitioners and communities can work in collaboration to develop high-quality systems that support deeper learning for all.

C!E Essential Learning - Leadership Grap
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