Flipping Leadership Doesn’t Mean Reinventing the Wheel


Peter M. DeWitt

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    Welcome to the Connected Educators Series.

    The past few years have provided momentous changes for educators: Whether it’s the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, educational innovations due to technology, teacher and administrator evaluations, or budget cuts, what is clear is that educational reforms come in different shapes and sizes. For many connected educators, one of the invaluable group support systems essential during these times is the professional learning network, also known as our PLN.

    Our PLN can provide innovative ideas, current resources, and sound educational practices that stretch our thinking in ways we haven’t yet experienced. Equally as important as how a PLN can professionally expand our horizons, it introduces new friends that we look forward to meeting in person. This Connected Educator Series brings together some important members of my PLN. These are educators with a depth of knowledge and level of experience that helps me stay current and up-to-date with my educational practices.

    In this series, my book, Flipping Leadership Doesn’t Mean Reinventing the Wheel, takes the innovative idea of flipping classrooms and presents it at the school leader level, engaging the school community in new and innovative ways. In Connected Leadership, Spike Cook shares his experiences moving from a novice to digital leadership and illustrates how other educators can do the same.

    Digital experts Steven Anderson and Tom Whitby help increase your digital experience by using Twitter to locate a PLN to engage in daily professional development. In The Relevant Educator, Tom and Steve provide a plethora of tools to use, and define each and every one. Using those same tools, in their book The Power of Branding, Tony Sinanis and Joe Sanfelippo help you to brand your school in order to create a positive focus on the learning happening within the four walls. In his book All Hands on Deck, Brad Currie offers us ways to engage with families and students using old techniques with new innovative approaches.

    In Teaching the iStudent, Mark Barnes provides insight into the life and mind of the iStudent, and in Empowered Schools, Empowered Students, Pernille Ripp focuses on empowering students and teachers. Also in the series, in Diversity and Connected Learning, Rafranz Davis shows how equity and diversity is vital to the social media movement, and why that is so important to education as we move forward.

    Kristen Swanson from the Edcamp Foundation not only focuses on why the Edcamp model is a new innovative way to provide excellent professional development, but also explains how you can create an edcamp in your school district in The Edcamp Model: Powering Up Professional Learning.

    The books in the Connected Educator Series are designed to read in any order, and each provides information on the tools that will keep us current in the digital age. We also look forward to continuing the series with more books from experts on connectedness.

    As Michael Fullan has said for many years, technology is not the right driver, good pedagogy is. The books in this connected series focus on practices that lead to good pedagogy in our digital age. To assist readers in their connected experience, we created the Corwin Connected Educators companion website (www.corwin.com/connectededucator) where readers can connect with the authors and find resources to help further their experience. It is our hope and intent to meet you where you are in your digital journey and elevate you as educators to the next level.

    Peter M. DeWitt, Ed.D. @PeterMDeWitt


    I am thankful for being on a team with Ariel Price and Arnis Burvikovs. Their experience, feedback, and collaboration brought this book series to life.

    In addition, I would like to thank Mike Soules (Corwin President) and Lisa Shaw (Executive Director of Editorial and Professional Learning) for their support on this Connected Educator Series.

    Special thanks to my partner Doug and my family.

    Thanks to the Connected Educator authors. We all came from different places, and came together to show what is great about social media and professional learning networks. You all are awesome.

    Lastly, thanks to Jim Hoffman, the Averill Park Central School District Superintendent (my boss), for his support as I took my leave of absence and ultimately resigned from my position as principal to follow a different path.


    To the Poestenkill Elementary School students, staff, and parents. All of you made the idea of flipping leadership come to fruition; without you, this never would have been a successful experience. I am honored to have been your principal for eight years.

    Publisher’s Acknowledgments
    • Corwin wishes to thank the following reviewers for their editorial insight and guidance:

    • Thomas Hansen, PhD, Independent Consultant

      Chicago, IL

    • Nicole Kemp, Principal

      Williamsburg Elementary

      Williamsburg, MO

    • Susan Kessler, Executive Principal

      Hunters Lane High School

      Nashville, TN

    • Angela M. Mosley, Assistant Principal

      Armstrong High School

      Richmond, VA

    • John Robinson, High School Principal

      Newton-Conover City Schools

      Newton, NC

    • Kathryn Wagner-West, Teacher/Administrative Intern

      Robert Gray Middle School

      Portland, OR

    About the Author

    Peter M. DeWitt (EdD) was a principal in Upstate New York since 2006. He is now an independent consultant focusing on school climate, connected leadership, and Visible Learning (Hattie, 2009), working with school districts, state education departments, and educational organizations nationally and internationally. Before becoming a principal, he taught elementary school for eleven years. His syndicated blog Finding Common Ground is published by Education Week, and he is a freelance writer for Vanguard Magazine. Peter has presented at state and national conferences around the United States, including the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Conference in 2012 and 2013 and the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Conference. His presentations focus on struggling learners, and educational technology, as well as safeguarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and other social justice topics. Peter is a regular commentator on the BAM! Radio Network where he discusses leadership and educational issues. (BAM! is an acronym for “body and mind,” and BAM! Radio was conceived in 2007 on the premise that the key to success in life for children and youth is nurturing a healthy mind in a healthy body.) Peter completed his doctoral dissertation on the subject of safeguarding LGBT students at Sage College of Albany in Albany, New York. His book Dignity for All: Safeguarding LGBT Students was published by Corwin in March of 2012. He is a consulting editor and visionary for the Connected Educator Series (Corwin, Fall 2014). In addition to Flipping Leadership Doesn’t Mean Reinventing the Wheel (Corwin, Connected Educator Series), Peter’s forthcoming release is Climate Change: How Do I Foster a More Inclusive School Climate (ASCD, Fall 2014). His articles have appeared in education journals at the state, national, and international level. He has written for Principal Magazine, Education Week, Educational Leadership, The Huffington Post, ASCD Whole Child, Connected Principals, Smartblogs, PBS, and ASCD Express. Additionally, he has been interviewed by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), the National Education Association (NEA), the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and ABCnews.com.

  • References

    Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2012). Flip your classroom: Reach every student in every class every day. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
    Covey, S. R. (1989). The 7 habits of highly effective people. New York: Simon & Schuster.
    DeWitt, P. (2011a, November 1). Student-led conferences [Web blog post]. Education Week, Finding Common Ground. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding_common_ground/2011/11/student-led_conferences.html
    DeWitt, P. (2011b, November 21). Why educators should join Twitter [Web blog post]. Education Week, Finding Common Ground. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding_common_ground/2011/11/why_educators_should_join_twitter.html
    DeWitt, P. (2012a). Dignity for all: Safeguarding LGBT students. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
    DeWitt, P. (2012b, August 15). A new approach to teaching? The flipped classroom [Web blog post]. Education Week, Finding Common Ground. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding_common_ground/2012/08/a_new_approach_to_teaching_the_flipped_classroom.html
    DeWitt, P. (2012c, September 2). The flipped faculty meeting [Web blog post]. Education Week, Finding Common Ground. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding_common_ground/2012/09/the_flipped_faculty_meeting.html
    DeWitt, P. (2013, December 6). Flipping parent conferences? [Web blog post]. Education Week, Finding Common Ground. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding_common_ground/2013/12/flipping_parent_conferences.html
    DeWitt, P. (2014, January 9). I hate technology and other lame opinions [Web blog post]. Education Week, Finding Common Ground. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding_common_ground/2014/01/i_hate_technology_and_other_lame_opinions.html
    Ferlazzo, L. (2012, August 11). The best posts on the “flipped classroom” idea [Web blog post]. Retrieved from http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2012/08/11/the-best-posts-on-the-flipped-classroom-idea/
    Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London, UK: Routledge.
    Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. London, UK: Routledge.
    Pierce-Picciotto, L. (1996). Student-led parent conferences. New York: Scholastic.
    Robinson, K. (2006). How schools kill creativity [Web video file]. Ted Talks. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity
    Sheninger, E. (2014). Digital leadership: Changing paradigms for changing times. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
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