Breaking Out of Isolation: Becoming a Connected School Leader
Publication Year: 2016
Fresh ideas to help you overcome leadership isolation! The Corwin Connected Educators series is your key to unlocking the greatest resource available to all educators: other educators. Through powerful vignettes and strategies, you’ll discover how innovation–minded school leaders connect to avoid isolation, lower stress, find support, and share ideas. This roadmap to transformational change will help you to: • Strategically connect with colleagues and staff • Jumpstart and sustain your Professional Learning Network • Overcome isolation for lasting impact Being a Connected Educator is more than a set of actions: it’s a belief in the potential of technology to fuel lifelong learning. To explore the other books in this series, visit the Corwin Connected Educators website at http://www.corwin.com/connectededucators/ “School leadership is a challenge that is ...
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My best friend is a high school math teacher. When I started working on the Corwin Connected Educators series, I excitedly told her about the power of using social media to connect with other educators. I passed on what I learned from the authors in this series: that the greatest resource educators have is each other. At a conference, she heard Jennie Magiera speak and finally made the leap to getting on Twitter. Although I wasn’t sure she would continue tweeting, she did, and even joined Twitter chats like #connectedtl and #slowmathchat. A few days later, she texted me saying, “I seriously cannot thank you enough. You have changed my life.”
Being “connected” seems deceptively simple: Just get on Twitter, right? But that’s really not enough. For those who truly embrace connectedness, it’s a lifestyle change, an openness to sharing and learning in an entirely new environment. We’re seeing the impact of this shift in mindset worldwide. Policies are changing, new jobs in education are being created, hitherto impossible collaborations are happening, pedagogy is evolving, and there’s a heightened awareness of each person’s individual impact. All of these changes are explored in the Connected Educators series.
While you can see the full list of books on the series page, we’re introducing several new books to the series; they will be published in the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016. These books each contribute something unique and necessary not only for educators who are new to the world of connected education, but also for those who have been immersed in it for some time.
[Page x]Tom Whitby, coauthor of The Relevant Educator, has brought together a group of experienced connected educators in his new book, The Educator’s Guide to Creating Connections. Contributors Pam Moran, George Couros, Kyle Pace, Adam Bellow, Lisa Nielsen, Kristen Swanson, Steven Anderson, and Shannon McClintock Miller discuss the ways that connectedness has impacted them and the benefits it can have for all educators—policy makers, school and district leaders, and teachers.
While all connected educators are evangelists for being connected, connectedness does not necessarily prevent common problems, such as isolation in leadership. In Breaking Out of Isolation, Spike Cook, Jessica Johnson, and Theresa Stager explain how connectedness can alleviate the loneliness leaders can feel in their position and also, when used effectively, help leaders maintain balance in their lives and stay motivated.
For districts and schools embracing the connected mindset and empowering all of their learners to use technology, a solid plan for digital citizenship is a must. In Digital Citizenship, Susan Bearden provides a look at how leaders can prepare teachers and students for the new responsibilities of using technology and interacting with others on a truly global platform.
Connected education provides unique opportunities for teachers in their classrooms as well. In Standing in the Gap, Lisa Dabbs and Nicol Howard explore the ways that social media can specifically help new teachers find resources, connect to mentors, and encourage each other in their careers. Erin Klein, Tom Murray, A. J. Juliani, and Ben Gilpin show how teachers can purposefully integrate technology and empower their students in both physical and digital classrooms in Redesigning Learning Spaces.
One of the most powerful impacts connected education can have is in reaching marginalized populations. In Confident Voices, John Spencer shows how social media and other technology tools can empower English language learners. Billy Krakower and Sharon LePage Plante have also discovered that technology can reach special and gifted learners as well.
[Page xi]The books in the Corwin Connected Educators series are supported by a companion website featuring videos, articles, downloadable forms, and other resources to help you as you start and continue your journey. Best of all, the authors in the series want to connect with you! We’ve provided their Twitter handles and other contact information on the companion website.
Once you’ve taken the step to joining a network, don’t stop there. Share what you’re doing; you never know when it will help someone else!@PeterMDeWitt@arielkprice
About the Authors
People We Follow and Why[Page 59]
- @CurtRees (Curt): We follow Curt for Response to Intervention (RtI) questions, because his school is a model school for RtI and has presented at a couple of conferences. He is also a tech guru, currently getting his doctorate with an emphasis in technology leadership and was one of the Techlandia Podcast crew. As a principal, he also does a great job of keeping his parents/community well informed through his school Facebook and YouTube channel.
- @PosickJ (Jay): His school was one of few that went one-to-one with chromebooks for their fourth to eighth graders, and there are some great tech gurus in his district. He recently ran for the 10,000th day in a row, so he is an inspiration for administrators who claim they don’t have time for exercise.
- @ReadbyExample (Matt) is an awesome elementary principal focused on literacy and is a grant-writing guru. His blog is filled with incredible information, and he often writes posts for the Stenhouse blog.
- @Joesanfelippofc (Joe) is a superintendent doing some incredible work in his district and leading his staff to be connected learners. He cowrote the book The Power of Branding and uses the hashtag #gocrickets to share the great things happening in his district.
- @twhitford (Tom) is a fellow elementary principal with great ideas, and he is constantly learning with others on twitter.
- @Leah_Whit (Leah): Another fellow elementary principal who also happens to be Tom’s wife. She is constantly reading, learning, and sharing on Twitter.
- @ChadHarnisch (Chad) is a connected high school principal with a great deal of experience and lot of wisdom to share. He recently presented at a conference about how all of his teachers were teaching literacy in the high school—not just the English teachers.[Page 60]
- @chadkafka (Chad) is a go-to guy for anything Google, because he is the Google guru! He is also an Apple Distinguished Educator. He used to lead the MobileReach podcast to share all kinds of great apps and advice for integrating mobile devices in education but now has the Teacher Tech Talk Podcast.
- @Taml17 (Tammy) joins Chad on the Teacher Tech Talk podcast and shares awesome tech tools/tips. I love following her website to see what she’s presenting on.
- @pernilleripp (Pernille) started the Global Read Aloud project and is so reflective on teaching in her blog. She is sincerely honest about her practice and gives the classroom back to the students.
- @mmiller7571 (Melinda) is a principal from Missouri who used to cohost the Practical Principals podcast that was the inspiration for our PrincipalPLN podcast.
- @shiraleibowitz (Shira) and @KathyPerret (Kathy) both comoderate the #Educoach chat with Jessica every Wednesday night. Shira is a rabbi/head of school in New York with a wealth of knowledge on coaching teachers versus just evaluating them. Kathy is a very well-trained instructional coach in Iowa, also with a wealth of knowledge.
- @E_Sheninger (Eric) is very well known across the country for having his New Jersey high school utilize social media. He was recognized by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) as a Digital Principal Award Winner. You may have seen video clips, news articles, and blog posts about him and his awesome school. He is the author of the book Digital Leadership.
- @patrickmlarkin (Patrick) was the principal of a Massachusetts high school that has been in national headlines for going one-to-one with huge success (now he’s an assistant superintendent). He’s also known for being the 2012 NASSP Digital Principal Award Winner.
- @8Amber8 (Amber) is an elementary assistant principal in Texas who is constantly sharing great ideas for integrating technology.[Page 61]
- @L_Hilt (Lyn) was an elementary school principal in Pennsylvania and is now an Instructional Tech Coach. She is an incredible leader on integrating technology.
- @Eduleadership (Justin): A former principal, now director of the Principal Center. He has taught me so many organizational/time management tips to keep up with the crazy amount of workload a principal has.
- @Cantiague_Lead (Tony): Principal of an elementary school that has been awarded the National Blue Ribbon Award, was New York State Elementary Principal of the year He cowrote Power of Branding with Joe.
- @LeaderandReader (Mindy) is an elementary school principal, a true lead learner, constantly sharing her ideas on leadership, leading a literacy school, and Daily 5.
- @casas_jimmy (Jimmy): A high school principal full of energy, great ideas and known for being a high school Principal of the Year in Iowa. He started the #IAEdchat to connect the Iowa educators on Sunday nights at 8. pm.
- @plugusin (Bill): Bill is a middle school teacher who has written several books and is a phenomenal speaker on PLCs for Solution Tree.
- @benjamingilpin (Ben) is an elementary principal who is extremely helpful, motivational, and inspiring. He is an advocate of #michED and creating learning spaces and environments that help students want to learn.
- @Joe_Mazza (Joe) is Leadership Innovation Manager at University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. He has served as an elementary principal, and district EdTech supervisor, and also currently serves as a national family-community engagement advisor to the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, DC. He is also the host of #ptchat, a weekly parent-teacher chat on Twitter.
- @ideaguy42 (Bob) is Director of Technology and Innovation at a school district in St. Louis, MO, and has also been a middle school principal. He truly is the “IdeaGuy”: He shares a ton of wonderful material, is very interactive on Twitter, and is a really fun guy to know and communicate with. His blog is consistently an Edublogs Finalist for “Best Administrator Blog.”[Page 62]
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