Photo: Dr. Bill Daggett during a keynote address at the Model Schools Conference.
I can safely say that the common attributes of effective and impactful educators make for a long list, but of all of these qualities, courage is among those I would rank highest—and for good reason.
In the course of my work with school and district leaders across the country, I’ve had countless conversations about how to overcome any number of obstacles that stand in the way of student success. Many of these discussions have addressed similar and familiar struggles, but no two were exactly the same, owing to the unique composition of each district’s DNA—its culture, its history, its people.
What I’ve seen as a constant element, however, in working through solutions to some of the most endemic problems facing districts is the concerted fortitude and persistence required of all educators in the system—from boardroom to classroom—to tackle these challenges, and to willingly confront the fears and discomforts of change for the benefit of their kids.
Simply put, it takes courage to lead well and do what’s best for students.
Every year, as my colleagues at the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE) and I plan our annual Model Schools Conference (MSC), we establish a theme for the event to add context and focus to these four days of intensive and collaborative professional learning. We want the theme not only to inspire but also to provide a lens through which the 5,000+ leaders and teachers in attendance can view their participation and shape their experience.
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