Principal Professional Development: Leading Learning in the Digital Age


Joseph Sanfelippo & Tony Sinanis

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    To my family for putting up with long hours and scattered thoughts . . . especially my wife, Andrea, who renders me speechless every time she walks in a room.

       —Joe Sanfelippo

    To Paul—you are my heart and soul—thank you for teaching me the true meaning of courage and perseverance, and always remember how proud I am to be your dad!

    To my family—thank you for supporting each of my dreams and for helping them come true—I love you all!

    To Feli—thank you for always inspiring me, for making me laugh, and for making my world Technicolor!

       —Tony Sinanis


    Welcome to the Corwin Connected Educators Series.

    Last year, Ariel Price, Arnis Burvikovs, and I assembled a great list of authors for the fall 2014 books in the Corwin Connected Educators Series. As leaders in their field of connected education, they all provided practical, short books that helped educators around the world find new ways to connect. The books in the spring 2015 season will be equally as beneficial for educators.

    We have all seen momentous changes for educators. States debate the use of the Common Core State Standards, and teachers and leaders still question the use of technology, while some of their students have to disconnect and leave it at home because educators do not know how to control learning on devices. Many of the series authors worked in schools where they were sometimes the only ones trying to encourage use of technology tools at the same time their colleagues were trying to ban it. Through their personal or professional learning networks (PLNs), they were able to find others who were trying to push the envelope.

    This spring, we have a list of authors who are known for pushing the envelope. Some are people who wrote books for the fall 2014 season, while others are brand new to the series. What they have in common is that they see a different type of school for students, and they write about ideas that all schools should be practicing now.

    Rafranz Davis discusses The Missing Voices in EdTech. She looks at and discusses how we need to bring more diverse voices to the connected world because those voices will enrich how we learn and the way we think. Starr Sackstein, a teacher in New York City, writes about blogging for reflection in her book, Blogging for Educators. Twitter powerhouse Steven W. Anderson returns to the series to bring us Content Curation, as do the very engaging Joseph Sanfelippo and Tony Sinanis with their new book, Principal Professional Development. Mark Barnes rounds out the comeback authors with his book on 5 Skills for the Global Learner. Thomas C. Murray and Jeffrey Zoul bring a very practical how-to for teachers and leaders in their book, Leading Professional Learning, and Makerspaces extraordinaire Laura Fleming brings her expertise with Worlds of Making.

    I am insanely excited about this book series. As a former principal, I know time is in short supply, and teachers and leaders need something they can read today and put into practice tomorrow. That is the exciting piece about technology; it can help enhance your practices by providing you with new ideas and helping you connect with educators around the world.

    The books can be read in any order, and each will provide 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 been saying for many years, technology is not the right driver, good pedagogy is, and the books in this connected series focus on practices that will lead to good pedagogy in our digital age. To assist readers in their connected experience, we have created the Corwin Connected Educators companion website where readers can connect with the authors and find resources to help further their experience. The website can be found at It is our hope that we can meet you where you are in your digital journey and bring you up to the next level.

    Peter M. DeWitt, EdD @PeterMDeWitt

    About the Authors

    Joseph (Joe) Sanfelippo is currently in his fourth year as the superintendent of the Fall Creek School District in Fall Creek, Wisconsin. Joe holds a BA in elementary and early childhood education from St. Norbert College, an MS in educational psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, an MS in educational leadership, and a PhD in leadership, learning, and service from Cardinal Stritch University. Joe was an elementary teacher, school counselor, and elementary principal before taking on the superintendent role. He cohosts the BrandED Radio Show on the Bam Radio Network. Joe serves on the Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness Teachscape Team developed by the Department of Public Instruction. His research interests include organizational and systems change in schools, personalized professional growth for staff, and advancing the use of social media in school districts. Joe can be found online at his website at and on Twitter at @joesanfelippofc. Go Crickets!

    Tony Sinanis is in his seventh year as the Lead Learner of Cantiague Elementary School in Jericho, New York. Cantiague was named a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School, and Tony received the 2014 New York State Elementary Principal of the Year Award and the national 2013 Bammy Award for Elementary School Principal of the Year. Tony taught at the elementary level for eight years and graduated from New York University with a degree in early childhood and elementary education and then went on to receive his master’s degree in educational technology and an advanced certificate in educational leadership and technology from the New York Institute of Technology. Tony is currently enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania where he is studying the relationship between active participation on Twitter and the professional development of principals. Tony is active on Twitter (@TonySinanis), serves as the founder and comoderator of #NYedchat, and has presented his work with social media and school branding at both national and local conferences. Finally, Tony cohosts the BrandED radio show with Dr. Sanfelippo; the show has been rated as high as number five on iTunes.

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