Leadership essentials and focusing on critical domains can help school leaders establish new and beneficial practices

How school leaders make real and lasting change

Leadership essentials and focusing on critical domains can help school leaders establish new and beneficial practices

As a new principal at Dunwoody Springs Elementary School in Fulton County Schools, GA, Ivy Goggins faced pockets of success in the building, a climate of teachers working in silos, and the lack of true collaboration.

These are common challenges for many instructional leaders, teachers, and coaches, and Goggins sought to find a way to create a culture of mutual respect, cooperation, and equitable learning opportunities for her teachers and students.

Related content: 5 ways to develop a school leadership program

In a recent edWebinar, Goggins, her principal coach Joy Treadwell, Ph.D. from CT3, and Jim McVety, managing partner of First Step Advisors, delved into solutions to these challenges through the essential leadership skills that have the potential to impact the entire school community.

Five domains for effective leaders

Educational leaders, McVety said, are working hard every day to make a real and lasting change but struggle to move the needle in their districts.

Treadwell’s team at CT3 built out five domains for effective leaders to help school administrators determine where best to put the emphasis and internal structures that allow them to thrive. These five domains include a shared vision, strategic resourcing, safe and orderly environment, teacher and staff effectiveness, and teacher/leader learning and development.

All the presenters agreed that the core and the most crucial of these domains is for school leaders to develop a vision where they are clear about the school or district’s mission, goals, and expectations. Without a shared vision, it is challenging to move a district forward and create a culture where students and teachers feel safe, and resources are allocated purposefully.

It is also critical that school leaders stay informed of best practices to ensure student outcomes while continually learning in the same way that their teachers are learning. By learning alongside their teachers, it allows school leaders to lead from the front of the pack and be the catalyst for sustainable change.

“No-Nonsense Nurturer” four-step model

“Getting a common language is critically important to ensuring a thriving school culture, and you can’t get there without consistent methodology or practice,” said Treadwell.

A No-Nonsense Nurturer Model is an opportunity to create a common language around how we support students in the classroom, ensure a level playing field regardless of backgrounds, and support teachers in building culturally relevant relationships with kids.

Giving precise directions, equitable accountability systems, building relationships, and utilizing positive narrative shifts attitudes and perspectives. When school leaders initiate, model, and coach teachers using a methodology like No-Nonsense Nurturer, the result is a collaborative environment with shared beliefs, commitments, and respect.

The presenters agreed that when leaders put into place behaviors, practices, and methodologies for change, it organically becomes a connective tissue that outlives school leaders.

Key takeaways

The presenters emphasized that students come first, and all decisions, processes, and initiatives need to have at its center the best interest of students. Students don’t learn from teachers they don’t like, so building relationships needs to be the number one priority. This priority holds with teachers as well. When supportive, safe, collaborative settings are in place, clear and consistent expectations are the norm, and there is a common belief about what the school stands for, real and lasting change will happen.

About the presenters

Ivy Goggins serves as Principal of Dunwoody Springs Elementary in Fulton County Schools, Georgia, with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. She is skilled in K-12 education, classroom management, instructional design, and differentiated instruction. She has been an education professional for 25 years and earned her master’s degree focused on educational leadership and administration from the University of West Georgia.

Joy Treadwell, Ph.D., Managing Associate at CT3, is an innovative educator with a proven track record of leading schools in various capacities. Her background as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and chief academic officer equipped her with unique experiences in strategic academic planning, culture building, school inception, and teacher induction. Under her academic leadership, Ivy Preparatory Academy at Gwinnett was designated as a 2011-2012 Georgia Department of Education “Rewards School”, a distinction given to the state’s highest performing schools. Joy has worked closely with principals and school leadership teams to drive network alignment and create instructional coherency across a network of three schools. Additionally, Joy has served as a summer analyst for the U.S Department of Education, where she evaluated trends in the charter school sector. She holds an M.Ed. in educational administration and policy and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in the same field.

About the host

Jim McVety is Managing Partner of First Step Advisors and serves as Senior Advisor to CT3. Having worked with CT3 for the past 10 years, Jim brings 20+ years of research and analysis to the discussion. Jim has hosted numerous webinars, expert panels, and keynote presentations during his career, and his focus is on building the capacity of service organizations to better support educators and students.

Join the community

New Models for Professional Learning is a free professional learning community on edWeb.net that explores how technology has enabled a new world of personalized professional learning that is more collaborative and responsive to the needs of educators.

This edWeb broadcast was sponsored by CT3. The recording of the edWebinar can be viewed by anyone here.

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