I have certainly had much change in my professional career in recent years. Four years ago, I left my position as a principal to complete my Ph.D. and work for the Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE) with Scott McLeod. During my two years in that position, I was extremely fortunate to work with hundreds of school leaders as they used technology as a lever for change in their schools. The number of 1:1 schools in Iowa grew from approximately 5 when I started to over 100 schools presently, and I was fortunate to be able to watch and learn from many of those schools. That work also connected me with visionary educators from across the country who helped me think of education in new ways. Last year I left my position at Iowa State and moved with CASTLE and colleagues John Nash and Scott McLeod to the University of Kentucky. My work for the past year has been much more heavily research focused, and also involved the major task of completing my dissertation. This April I successfully defended my dissertation which led to my current role. On July 1, I began my position as an Assistant Research Professor in the Educational Leadership department at the University of Kentucky. I will remain affiliated with CASTLE, but I also have a new role. My role now will be to work with school leaders enrolled in the Next Generation Leadership Academy. The Leadership Academy’s goal is to support schools and leaders as they work to transform their schools. The academy focuses on the six critical attributes that include:
- Personalizing learning, which calls for a data-driven framework to set goals, assess progress, and ensure students receive the academic and developmental supports they need;
- Comprehensive systems of learning supports, which address social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development along a continuum of services to ensure the success of all students;
- World-class knowledge and skills, which require achievement goals to sufficiently encompass the content knowledge and skills required or success in a globally-oriented world;
- Performance-based learning, which puts students at the center of the learning process by enabling the demonstration of mastery based on high, clear, and commonly-shared expectations;
- Anytime, everywhere opportunities, which provide constructive learning experiences in all aspects of a child’s life, through both the geographic and the Internet-connected community; and
- Authentic student voice, which is the deep engagement of students in directing and owning their individual learning and shaping the nature of the education experience among their peers.
I am extremely excited about my involvement with these school leaders who have committed to working to change the learning experience for students. My hands on work with school leaders, as well as my research around their initiatives, truly make this an exciting opportunity! I hope to be able to share many of their success stories in the future!