When I entered graduate school at age 25, I was greener than I knew. With only three-and-a-half years of teaching experience, I had a burning desire to become a high school principal, convinced I could do a better job than those who had been my leaders. I am grateful that after a fabulous doctoral education I had twelve years to strive to improve two high schools, with six of those years spent as principal.
After 14 years as a university professor of education leadership at George Mason University, I have returned to Stanford, the scene of my twenty-something naiveté, to be the Faculty Director of Leadership Degree Programs. In one of those wonderful ironies that makes life interesting, I now face many twenty- and thirty-something students with early experiences in classrooms and other settings eager to change and improve education.
I am motivated to create this blog by a strong belief that the most successful leaders in education are those who lead learning. By that I mean effective leaders drive investigations of student achievement challenges and opportunities in collaboration with their various constituencies—students, parents, teachers, and the community—staying focused on how teaching and learning takes place in classrooms. Of course, this raises the question, How do you practice effective leadership in educational settings? Good blog topic.
Having stated the above very confidently, let me also say that I’m exploring and questioning these ideas every day. As a result, I hope this blog will become interactive with students, graduates from leadership programs, practicing leaders, colleagues, and any interested others. Dialogue has always been my favorite learning mode.
My research and writing interests center on decision making in educational settings, organizing for teacher collaboration, school improvement, and leadership preparation. I recently published (with Scott Bauer) a model for leadership preparation (Brazer, S.D., & Bauer, S.C. (2013). Preparing instructional leaders: A model. Educational Administration Quarterly, 49, 645 – 684.). Our book on school improvement (Bauer, S.C., & Brazer, S.D. (2012). Using research to lead school improvement: Turning evidence into action. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.) is used in an increasing number of master’s level research courses. Additional colleagues and I have published the following on the topic of teacher collaboration aimed at improving student performance:
Van Lare, M.D., & Brazer, S.D. (2013). Analyzing learning in professional learning communities: A conceptual framework. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 12, 374 – 396.
Bauer, S., Brazer, S., Van Lare, M, & Smith, R. (2013). Organizational design in support of professional learning communities in one district. In S. Conley and B. Cooper (Eds.) Moving from teacher isolation to teacher collaboration: Enhancing professionalism & school quality (pp. 49 – 80). New York: Rowman and Littlefield.
Van Lare, M., Brazer, S., Bauer, S. & Smith, R. (2013). Professional learning communities using evidence: Examining teacher learning and organizational learning. In S. Conley and B. Cooper (Eds.) Moving from teacher isolation to teacher collaboration: Enhancing professionalism & school quality (pp. 157 – 182). New York: Rowman and Littlefield.
I hope you will visit the blog often and contribute regularly.