Season 5, Episode 7 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Luke Roberts

Season 5, Episode 7 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Luke Roberts

Systems Thinking for School Leadership and Educational Reform with Luke Roberts

This is Season 5, Episode 7 of FocusED, and it features our guest, Luke Roberts. It was originally recorded in front of a live audience in Delaware and provided as a professional development experience in collaboration with the Delaware Department of Education, Wilmington University, and The School House 302. Don’t miss what Luke Roberts says about systems thinking in schools and how the next phase of our leadership approach to change should not be linear in nature…and much more.

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Luke Roberts Brings a Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

Dr. Luke Roberts has worked in education in the UK for over 20 years to address issues of conflict, bullying, and educational opportunities. He worked on the national evaluation of restorative justice in schools before becoming a practitioner and trainer. 

He became increasingly concerned that the whole school approach was not working and did an MBA and M.Ed. before completing his Ph.D. exploring schools as complex adaptive systems. This reframing of schools is central to his book and seeks to address the challenge of why innovation does not last in educational settings. 

He has also worked in communities and prison settings to promote conflict resolution. He joined Highfive in the USA as Chief Innovation Officer to promote sustainable solutions to educational challenges. 

He also advises government departments on system approaches and is a visiting lecturer at Cambridge University and the Royal College of Arts. His recent book is called Leading Schools and Sustaining Innovation. You can follow Dr. Luke Roberts on X: @LukeshRoberts.

FocusED Show Notes with Luke Roberts

Following his PhD, Luke wrote this book to make sure leaders can understand complexity without being too challenged by academic literature. 

Luke wants leaders to have a usable framework for sustaining innovation. 

Luke says schools are much more like beehives than machines. In machines, you can take parts out, but beehives are much more interconnected. 

He talked about the hub and spoke model of school leadership whereby all of the spokes are centered on the leader. Then, when the leader leaves, the innovations die. Dr. Roberts tells a real story about this happening. 

One problem that we discuss is that humans like power and actually like the fact that the system revolves around them. 

Listen to what he says about being in a production mind versus being a gardener. This requires an identity shift for the school leader. 

The conversation about the network effect in schools is fascinating, especially since it deviates from the traditional hub and spoke model.

Joe asked about the next steps that leaders can take to work toward the networked model. 

No one perspective is going to solve the problem. 

Don’t miss what he says about zooming out and validating history before moving forward. 

Systems thinking is much different than change theory, which Luke says is part of the problem. Change theory is often linear and “beehives” are not linear organizations.    

Luke calls for a greater focus on young people’s futures and schools that spend time on students’ sense of identity and how they will interact with society in the future. 

Joe underscores the fact school is often something that is done to students rather than for them. 

Dr. Roberts talks about injecting creativity into the system so that more educators are working in a safe space where they can be creative in the way they think about changing their schools. 

We need the ability to play with boundaries, including time and the way the day unfolds. The structures of the day can limit people’s ability to think creatively and change the future of the environment. 

Luke says that once you start to see systems, it’s so hard to unsee them. He references Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a systems thinker. 

Luke asks the audience to ponder how we think about change, not reduce but increase what we should do. 

Books that Luke Roberts Mentions on FocusED

The Grasshopper by Bernard Suits 

 

Related School Leadership Content Based on This Show

Season 4, Episode 14 with Nathan Maynard and Luke Roberts

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Guest Nathan Maynard

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Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ dereka206.sg-host.com, where we publish free leadership content. Go to the site, subscribe, and you’ll get all of our content sent directly to your email. 

FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district. Let us know who you would like to hear from next. 

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Curtiss Murphy Talks about What Makes Great Managers Great

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Curtiss Murphy Talks about What Makes Great Managers Great

About Curtiss Murphy

Curtiss Murphy has spent 32 years as a software engineer (20 of those years in games and gaming and twelve years building educational games. He spent 3 summers hosting the NSF’s Edugaming workshop and six years as a professor of game design at Laguna College of Art and Design (for their Game Design MFA program). 

He has a few dozen minor publications/chapters. He’s an award-winning speaker, author, and game designer. He’s been on 21 episodes of the podcast Game Design Zen. He’s currently the VP of Engineering at a Mobile Game Studio.

He is the recent author of What Makes Great Managers Great: How to Raise Engagement, Give Feedback, and Answer the Questions No One’s Asking.

What You’ll Find in this Episode with Curtiss Murphy

Curtiss starts by flipping the show back to Joe and T.J. with a question about why they would want to have an “outsider” from education on the show. Listen to hear about comfort zones, learn from new people, and seek alternative perspectives. That’s what Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and TJ is all about. 

Curtiss simply says it, many managers are doing it wrong. His story will resonate with you as he admits that he once was one as well. Don’t miss what he says about how it all changed for him.

You want to hear what he says about medical errors and deaths based on miscommunication. 

He talks about going from 5 people to 40 and what management practices have done to increase performance on his team. 

The number one premise to start with as a leader is that there’s confusion everywhere. ~ Curtiss Murphy 

Tune in to hear why we must always be clarifying expectations. 

Joe asks about “safety and making people feel safe at work.” 

Reminder for school leaders: Whatever we do impacts our employees. Don’t miss what Curtiss says about “not enough” in this category. 

Curtiss looks for inspiration from his wife (and he tells us that we can’t have her). 

He talks about being a nerd by trade and using the rules of improv (we wrote about this in 7 Mindshifts for School Leaders). Three rules: (1) accept everything, (2) use yes, and (3) make your co-workers and partners look good. 

Curtiss wants to learn to be calm, be in the moment, and slow down his sense of urgency. 

He focuses on praising people for supporting the behaviors that he wants them to repeat. 

Curtiss used to think that his job was just to empower people; he learned to empower the skill, not the person. 

His final thought: leadership = influencing others through trusting relationships.  

 

The Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe & T.J. Show

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing to the site.

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J. 

Season 5, Episode 6 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Lee Roland

Season 5, Episode 6 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Lee Roland

Failure is Not an Option with Lee Roland

This is Season 5, Episode 6 of FocusED, and it features our guest, Lee Roland. It was originally recorded in front of a live audience in Delaware and provided as a professional development experience in collaboration with the Delaware Department of Education, Wilmington University, and The School House 302. Don’t miss what Lee Roland says about his journey as a school leader and radical change in schools.

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Lee Roland Brings a Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

 

Lee Roland has been a leader in education and the community for more than 35 years. He has served as a teacher, administrator, Board member, principal, Executive Director, and pastor. 

Lee is a passionate speaker, practical trainer, and dedicated advocate for a better future for all. His book, Fantastic Voyage, chronicles his journey of leadership and radical change at Tulakes Elementary. 

Voyage Consulting was born out of a desire to inspire, equip, and empower others to believe, pursue, and achieve equity and success for all individuals, especially children, in our community.

FocusED Show Notes with Lee Roland

Lee starts by talking about his own confidence with writing a book and the encouragement he got from others when they visited his school and wanted him to document what he was doing so that others could replicate it. 

Lee wants readers to take his content and make it their own. “Take what he says, personalize it, put your name on it,” he says. We have to borrow from one another. 

Joe asks a direct question about imposter syndrome and Lee’s thoughts about writing and publishing a book. 

Lee jumps into the need for a growth mindset. “We can build anything.” 

Lee talked about his early years, and that failure was never an option. People always have looked to him for inspiration, and he has embraced the charge. 

He talks about how the staff and community are looking to school leaders for hope. 

Lee isn’t shy to point out that there’s often an elephant in the room…race and poverty are two that we have to face. 

Wearing uniforms made a difference in a school where many of the students didn’t have regular outfits. This created a team feel.

Lee addressed the thoughts and motivation that come from fear…the fear of change. He encourages school leaders to work with “designated leaders” as well as “undesignated leaders.” 

Don’t miss what he says about building relationships. “We’ve heard it said, but we have to make deposits with people.” ~ Lee Roland 

One sentiment that we take away from his message is that we have to lead with our hearts. People can feel it, and it’s contagious. 

Joe underscores that fear presents itself, but it’s often not real. 

Lee encourages the concept of “collaborative leadership.” What he says reminds of the “shirtless dancing guy video.” 

You’ll want to hear what he says about the fact that educators often return to schools to work in a scene of a “non-crime” but the community is often returning to school as a “scene of a crime” that they remember when they were in school.    

Listen to what Lee says about being intentional with every single event that the school hosts. 

Lee says that we make things too complicated. Just think about a student who doesn’t come to school regularly and what can happen if we get them to come to school 5 more days this year than last. 

Students at Lee’s school received an effort grade every day. This was born out of a desperate love for them and making sure that everyone worked toward excellence. 

Teach them well from bell-to-bell. ~ Lee Roland 

Lee wants to see a whole-child approach to learning (some call it social and emotional learning), but Lee says that we need to address trauma. Plus, he wants the energy in a school to be about the students. Every Student: “I am the agenda.” 

He points to Ron Edmonds’ work.  

As a final point, he tells listeners to “lead with love.” No one can follow if you don’t lead first. 

Related School Leadership Content Based on This Show

Black Students. Middle Class Teachers by Jawanza Kunjufu 

Balancing Care and High Expectations with Guest Joy Kelly 

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Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ dereka206.sg-host.com, where we publish free leadership content. Go to the site, subscribe, and you’ll get all of our content sent directly to your email. 

FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district. Let us know who you would like to hear from next. 

Season 5, Episode 5 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Don Parker

Season 5, Episode 5 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Don Parker

Be The Driving Force in Your School with Don Parker

This is Season 5, Episode 5 of FocusED, and it features our guest, Don Parker. It was originally recorded in front of a live audience in Delaware and provided as a professional development experience in collaboration with the Delaware Department of Education, Wilmington University, and The School House 302. Don’t miss what Don Parker says about being the driving force in your school, and so much more.

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Don Parker Brings a Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

 

Dr. Don Parker is a transformational keynote speaker and professional development provider. He specializes in SEL, supporting teachers to build trusting relationships with students, restorative practices, trauma-informed practices, and improving the culture and climate of schools to enhance students’ and teachers’ feelings of belonging.

Dr. Parker is a former principal and served at Posen School in Posen, IL, where he improved the school climate, staff collaboration, parent engagement, and student achievement. 

Before that, he was the principal of Lincoln Avenue School, a K-8 school in Dolton, IL, where he improved the culture, implemented a resilience program, managed the implementation of restorative justice, and increased attendance and student achievement. 

Dr. Parker has a strong belief in creating a school climate in which the entire staff strives for excellence to meet the academic and social emotional needs of each student. He has presented throughout the United States at distinguished educational conferences, including ASCD, the Every Student Succeeds Act Conference, the National Principals Conference, the Illinois Principals Conference, the Oklahoma Secondary and Elementary Conference, the Raising Student Achievement Conference, the Transforming School Culture Conference, the Innovative Schools Summit, just to name a few.

Dr. Parker is the author of the book Building Bridges: Engaging Students At-Risk Through the Power of Relationships and Be the Driving Force: Leading Your School on the Road to Equity. Follow Dr. Don Parker on Twitter: @DrDonParker1.

FocusED Show Notes with Don Parker

Don starts with the fact that equity issues aren’t new. The achievement gap has been static for too long. Don says that leaders are driving this work or pumping the brakes. 

Don says that equity work starts at the top. 

Don talks about the fact that people will follow a person before they follow a cause.  

Don’t miss what he says about sharing data to create a sense of urgency. We need to take an honest look at our practices and start the conversation with empathy. 

Don talked about the fact that 72% of students feel that they need social and emotional support but don’t get it. 

We need to take an inventory of our academic support to ensure that we’re reaching all students. 

Don says that we often make assumptions about the community and what they need, but the better strategy is to ask them. Are our family engagement and education strategies targeting what the community needs? 

Dr. Parker says that we need to use surveys more often to gather information about what our families want from the school, maybe there’s something they think we should be providing that we’re (even though we can). 

His story about a family who had a food deficit is inspirational. 

If Don could improve every school, he would make sure every student felt valued in the school environment. His water bottle analogy is incredible. 

Don talks about strategies to create belonging and says that it’s not rocket science. 

“99% of education is encouragement.” ~ Don Parker

Don tells our audience to listen to podcasts, go to conferences, and read books. He names Anthony Muhammad’s book, Transforming School Culture.  

Joe asked if anyone outside of education inspired Don, and he pointed to a touching story about his uncle. 

Don mentions the leadership of Barack Obama and overcoming seemingly impossible challenges. Find out what Don believes are the skills that Obama used to be successful. 

He wants to see more on the topic of educator empathy…how to be more empathetic for the sake of our students. We came up with this title for a future book, The Empathetic Educator

As final words, Don talked about the professional development that he’s doing around the country and how he helps educators to work better with students who have trauma in their lives.

Related School Leadership Content Based on This Show

Two books that we recommend on the topic of social and emotional learning.

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Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ dereka206.sg-host.com, where we publish free leadership content. Go to the site, subscribe, and you’ll get all of our content sent directly to your email. 

FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district. Let us know who you would like to hear from next. 

A Captain’s Guide to Success in School Leadership: Two Must Reads for School Leaders Who Want to Navigate the Leadership Waters

A Captain’s Guide to Success in School Leadership: Two Must Reads for School Leaders Who Want to Navigate the Leadership Waters

Joe and T.J. Recommend that School Leaders Read The Following Two Books

 

 

Unlocking Excellence: Read to Lead Better, Learn to Grow Faster

These are two powerhouse books that capture the journey of leadership. These two books are distinctly different, but both reflect our focus on school leaders’ need to Navigate the Seas of School Leadership

Joe recommends Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations, which is an autobiographical book by Admiral William H. McRaven, a retired Navy SEAL and former commander of the United States Special Operations Command. The book is a firsthand account of Admiral McRaven’s remarkable military career, spanning from his childhood, the early days in training, to his experiences leading special operations missions.

The narrative is filled with anecdotes and insights into the world of special operations, offering readers a glimpse into the challenges, triumphs, and lessons learned in high-stakes environments. 

It’s an amazing exploration of leadership, resilience, and the values that underpin success in the most demanding situations. The book not only shares the author’s personal journey but also imparts valuable leadership lessons that can be applied in various contexts, making it a great recommendation for school leaders who are navigating their own challenges.

T.J. recommends, Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon, a book written by Colin Bryar and Bill Carr, former executives at Amazon. The book provides a unique insider’s perspective on Amazon’s culture, leadership principles, and business strategies.

In “Working Backwards,” the authors share anecdotes and insights based on their experiences working with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The book covers Amazon’s customer-centric approach, decision-making processes, and the principles that have contributed to the company’s success. It also offers valuable lessons for leaders and businesses seeking to adopt Amazon’s innovative practices.

 

What You’ll Learn in this Episode with Joe & T.J.

 Joe reveals that his mentor and friend, Dr. Steven Godowsky, originally shared this book with him, knowing his interest in leadership perspectives from the military. 

Listen to Joe describe how Admiral McRaven structures the book to capture the intention of the reader.

Joe also emphasizes how Sea Stories covers McRaven’s career. Too often, leadership books don’t chronicle the journey of a leader and the many different leadership positions that an individual may hold. This book does!

Who doesn’t want a look inside Amazon? Listen to T.J. describe why he likes this book and why he recommends it to school leaders.

T.J. describes how these gentlemen detail their work within Amazon and the lessons that can be learned for leaders. You don’t want to miss how the authors describe working for Jeff Bezos.

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing to the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

Season 5, Episode 4 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Sam Crome

Season 5, Episode 4 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Sam Crome

The Power of Teams with Sam Crome

This is Season 5, Episode 4 of FocusED, and it features our guest, Sam Crome. It was originally recorded in front of a live audience in Delaware and provided as a professional development experience in collaboration with the Delaware Department of Education, Wilmington University, and The School House 302. Don’t miss what Sam Crome says about the power of teams, creating and leading thriving school cultures, and so much more.

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Sam Crome Brings a Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

 

Sam Crome is a school leader, currently a Deputy Headteacher and Director of Education for a Multi Academy Trust in Surrey. 

He has been a Head of Year, Head of Department, Head of Sixth Form, Lead of Teaching and Learning, and most recently, he led pastoral teams across a secondary school. 

For the last few years, Sam has studied high-performing teams, trying to better understand how teams can become more than the sum of their parts. He regularly blogs, speaks and works with schools regarding their teams, helping educators maximize their effectiveness. 

He remains convinced that this is an area that needs more attention and exploration. Sam is an accredited coach and loves working with coaches to help them realize their potential and make strides toward their career goals.

He’s the author of The Power of Teams: How to create and lead thriving school teams.

FocusED Show Notes with Sam Crome

Sam saw a lot of competition in the world of education, not necessarily using teamwork, which is why he wrote the book.

Here’s what Sam wants to know: how do a group of people come together to seamlessly strive toward a common goal? 

Sam talks about learning to coach and the impact that the process had on his work with leaders. The form of coaching that he mentions is “non-directive.”

Don’t miss what he says about his former self in terms of his past perspective on teams and what he believes now. 

We ask Sam about what makes for a great team and how to lead a team. You’ll want to hear this. 

He describes a “team debrief” as a critical aspect of teamwork. We discussed the need for Before Action Reviews and After Action Reviews. 

Sam talked about the reasons why teams aren’t effective. 

He mentions a simple remedy to team meetings: planning. We talked about this with Dr. Liz City

Don’t miss him describe his BIG secret–start every meeting with a short burst of learning. Plus, this should be enjoyable and not too sensitive. 

Teams have to believe that what they say they’re going to do at the meeting is what they actually do after the meetings. This means that the leader has to start meetings with an update about what has happened since the last meeting. 

Sam talks about accountability from the leader for the people who attend meetings. 

The survey data that he talks about is incredible.

Sam talks about the ResearchED Network and getting so much value from that group. 

We asked Sam about what he would do to support the student experience, and he talked about a disruptive-free learning zone. Students need safety and belonging for learning to take place.

Related School Leadership Content Based on This Show

We wrote about teams in an early blog. Check it out and comment on the site

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Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ dereka206.sg-host.com, where we publish free leadership content. Go to the site, subscribe, and you’ll get all of our content sent directly to your email. 

FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district. Let us know who you would like to hear from next.