Thank you for visiting the ISU Ed. Leadershop. Our intent over the past few years has been to field-test community-engaged writings for PK-20 practitioner conversation -- quick, 5-minute "read's" that help put into perspective the challenges and opportunities in our profession. Some of the writings have remained here solely; others have been developed further for other outlets. Our space has been a delightful "sketch board" for some very creative minds in leadership, indeed.

We believe that by kicking around an idea or two and not getting too worked-up over it, the thinking and writing involved have even greater potential to make a difference on behalf of those we serve. In such, please give us a read; share with others. We encourage your thoughts, opinions, feelings, and reactions to our work and thank you for taking your time. You keep us relevant.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is Leadership for You? Let's Explore ...

Is Leadership for You?  Let’s Explore …

By Dr. Ryan Donlan
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University

Who among your staff members has potential leadership energy, waiting to turn kinetic? 

I am not necessarily referring to those in leadership training programs; I know a good many of these folks, and they are already “kinetic.” With respect to the question above, I am referring to the teachers in your schools who have not yet been given “permissions” by trusted elders or colleagues such as yourself to consider what you and I know as more of a calling than a job … more of a mission than a position – a true labor of love:  School Leadership.

I met just such a person the other day while taking a tour of the Vigo County Public Schools.  This teacher happened to be quite young, but youth isn’t a prerequisite for leadership potential.  “Incredible-ness” is.  When finding such persons as I’m strolling through schools, I am often quite pleased in finding the following:

1.  How much they remind me of you and I years ago (shamelessly noted, yet humbly tempered) with all of our good qualities, yet none of our bad.
2. How much our profession excites them, despite the challenges we face or the uncertainties ahead, with an adorable naiveté only outdistanced by their incredible talent and love of children.
3.  How fortunate I would feel if they were leading my children’s school someday, after serving, of course, as their classroom teacher.
4.     How much they exude positive energy and transformational affect.
5.     How incredibly content they feel in their current position.

The latter almost makes one hesitant in sharing the following information with them, but our schools and tomorrow’s children demand that we have a conversation.

Will you help us to expand the horizons of tomorrow’s greats, possibly before they even begin doing so of their own volition?  I ask you to consider suggesting that they take a closer look inside themselves by attending a two-day School Leadership Summer Series and exploring a question that we all once asked, “Do I have what it takes?”

Please share this Blog with at least one person in your school who epitomizes #1 - #5 above, as all that follows in our post this week is written directly to them.  Thanks for sharing. You’re “Paying It Forward,” as the saying goes, by doing so.

Banks of the Wabash: Leaders In Learning Series
Is Leadership for You?  Let’s Explore …

The Educational Leadership Department at Indiana State University’s Bayh College of Education invites “you” -- K-12’s BEST and BRIGHTEST -- to a relevant and engaging two-day summer series tailored to those who have the potential to look ahead at a possible career in Educational Leadership. This workshop will help you make that decision, with relevant and intriguing information and an opportunity to network with those who are “in the know.”  New mandates demand that all educators find their “best fit” in a way that positively impacts student learning.  This workshop will provide you an opportunity to “do just that” and will give you a clear perspective on your leadership potential, given the issues leaders handle and the quality of professional lives they lead.

The Seminar series will include the following:

Reflections on a Career Well-Spent:  With contributions to K-12 education spanning nearly the past four decades, Dr. Terry McDaniel shares the impact that a career of leadership has had on him both personally and professionally.  Oftentimes, educators on the cusp of making life-decisions wonder, “Am I on the right track?”  “Do I really want to leave the classroom?” and “When looking back, will this all be worthwhile?”  A stroll with Dr. McDaniel through “many years of service through ascension and impact of leadership positions” will allow for reflection of one’s possible “best fit” as a leader and the resultant benefits that can accrue as you assume some of the most important responsibilities in public education today.

Leading from the Inside-Out:  In the seminar’s launch, you and fellow participants will work with Dr. Ryan Donlan to examine strengths of personality as they inform leadership potential.  An understanding of human performance, as well as communication competencies and professional needs, delivered in a model of interpersonal communication and behavioral analysis that has been applied for those leading businesses, education, and governmental agencies for well-over three decades, will serve as a foundation for this experience. Also included will be immediately practical information on work/life balance and launching leadership effectively.

New Definitions of Instructional Leadership:  You have heard about “Instructional Leadership” – Yet “What is it, really?”  With experiences as a K-12 school leader, educational curriculum consultant, and principal preparation faculty member, Bobbie Jo Monahan will work with you to understand the realities of a school leader’s role in maintaining the quality of an instructional program.  School leaders are the champions of children, yet they also must transcend their former roles in the classroom.  Bobbie Jo Monahan will share the details of this experience and the developmental stages one goes through in this transition to the more panoramic focus of leadership.

What You May Not Know about Culture:  What do you know about School Culture? Our best leaders have deep appreciation of the power and influence of School Culture and how it can impact student achievement.  Dr. Steve Gruenert will share critical insights into the role of leadership in understanding the behaviors, beliefs, values, and assumptions that help forge organizational identity and the effectiveness of everything schools purport they are doing on behalf of children and community.  Your “take away” will be organizational acuity and an ability to see your school through a lens that“ sees education 20/20.”

Dialogue on Diversity and Universal Education:  A deepened understanding of today’s students and staff members is inextricably linked with successful leadership in tomorrow’s schools.  With this in mind, Dr. Lilia Santiague will share with you her keen understanding of the powerful and growing diversity that exists among stakeholders in education, reflective of the need for leaders to be quite comprehensive in cherishing diversity’s value and impact as a vibrant force in human relations and organizational performance. Dr. Santiague’s presentation will invite you to examine your own paradigms and perspectives in how you can provide a vibrant, inclusive community for all in schools and communities. 

Legal and Legislative Update:  With cutting-edge information and a play-by-play on the issues in Indianapolis and throughout affecting schools, Dr. Todd Bess, Associate Director of the Indiana Association of School Principals will offer you deft insight into what school leaders need to know in order to perform their jobs successfully.  Quite simply, Dr. Bess will offer you “the playbook,” inarguably the most current news and views on the minds of school leaders that are affecting schools, now and into the not-so-distant future -- very helpful information to consider in determining whether a career in leadership is one you wish to navigate.

So…You Have What it Takes?  What are schools and communities looking for in principals?  What are central office personnel hoping for as they staff their buildings with the best leaders in Indiana?  Dr. Karen Goeller, K-12 Deputy Superintendent and previous building level administrator, will share information about being an effective instructional leader in a climate of new initiatives, accountability, and rapid change.   How does a principal survive amid the ever-changing landscape?   As part of this, Dr. Goeller will invite you to join in a professional conversation about daily survival and engaged leadership as principals confront:   What’s Really Worth Fighting For Out There? 

“Shifting the Monkey” & What Great Principals Do Differently:  Internationally renowned author, presenter, and Professor of Education, Dr. Todd Whitaker, concludes our series with some personal time with you all, offering an energizing conversation on  different ways of addressing the challenges that confront us today and make a difference through leadership.  We’ll call this “Time with Todd,” after which, you will leave with a better appreciation for what leaders do, how they make a difference, and what special people they are as they work to make our world a better place.  This is your time to learn from an internationally renowned presenter what you can accomplish throughout the rest of your career.

Banks of the Wabash Leaders in Learning Series
Is Leadership for You:  Let’s Explore …

Wednesday and Thursday
July 25-26, 2012
University Hall
Bayh College of Education
Room 110G
Indiana State University

Cost Includes Professional Development Certificate of Completion
Graduate Credit Available through ISU At Extra Cost

For questions about this workshop, please contact Rhonda Beecroft at
812-237-2895 or e-mail her at


Dr. Ryan Donlan can be reached at (812) 237-8624 or at He encourages leaders to identify someone meeting the five criteria above, tap him/her on the shoulder, and suggest two days of powerful summer learning on campus at Indiana State University.

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