Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dissertation Idea

I have been considering a number of topics for my dissertation which I will be writing over the next year or so. I have a serious interest in the role professional development, opportunities to attend and present at professional conferences, and opportunities to collaborate with teachers from other districts has on young teachers' attitudes, innovation and ultimately retention both in a district as well as retention in the profession of teaching. When budgets get tight, more often than not, professional development and professional travel are often the first things in a budget to get cut. This is true even when there are staff which are no longer needed and could be reduced or staff that should be pressured/coached to improve or hang it up. We are a people profession and as such try to keep people we no longer need because we feel this is the right thing to do. We don't want to lose our young teachers. We don't want those we feel are already grossly under compensated to have to work even harder for the same amount of money. We don't feel there is enough of each of us to go around and the concept of working smarter or differently rather than just doing the same things with fewer people is not normal educational thinking.
I am the product of my professional experiences. I not only invested in my own professional growth, but was fortunate to work for districts that also invested in me. I have had opportunities to attend professional conferences both as a participant as well as those times I presented at them. I believe this is what enabled me to feel confident enough to try new things and assume leadership roles in each of the schools I have worked.
I think student achievement gains are positively impacted by the enthusiastic and innovative teachers in the building and to have those, continued investments must be made in professional development through opportunities to attend professional conferences.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Power of Cohorts

I am currently involved in a cohort seeking a certificate in advanced studies from Iowa State University. It is composed of administrators from the largest district in Iowa all the way to one of the smallest. We have administrators from the elementary, middle, and high school levels as well as one working in a central office director position. It has been an honor to participate in this professional learning community over the past two years. This last weekend, we began to discuss our plans after we finish the program. I know that there are several of us that are hoping to complete a doctoral degree while others who will seek a superintendent position sometime in the near future. I know that the one thing we will all have in common is the strong bond which has developed between members of this group.
This past weekend we began to discuss the end of the program and I can honestly say, I do not want it to end.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I spent the day today attending a workshop in Des Moines put on by Dr. Scott McLeod and his graduate assistant. The things that were presented were outstanding and really challenged my vision for 21st century schools and what they will look like. I see an extreme sense of urgency forming amongst educational leaders. As so wonderfully stated by Scott, "We can either change now or become obsolete. Some of our organizations today are doomed, it is just a matter of how long they can manage to flounder around before they die."

I see a great deal of things as an educaitonal leader that I need to be thinking about and a even more that I need to familiarize myself with.