Themes of inclusiveness, of passion and purpose, of questioning and listening, and of integrity, respect and courage permeate our five years of writing. They are attributes of leadership that go beyond the knowledge and skill of the work itself.

We wish it were as easy for a respectful leader to build a respectful culture system-wide. It isn't, but it is definitely worth the daily effort. And, it has integrity.

John R. Jones and Misty Henry report: "Today, schools are under tremendous pressure to improve student achievement and sometimes at the expense of failing to help teachers get better at instruction. It seems the emphasis is placed on lack of student achievement and not on its remedy."

Mostly, the public doesn't understand the work of educators. The invisible efforts of the teachers and their leaders that result in successes is often not broadcasted well.

We still hope for some bits of innocence in childhood. We aspire to days that are carefree and playful. We think those days help form us as adults. Schools can play a role.

Guest blogger Amanda Ronan writes, "The harsh reality is that certain discipline practices are the reflections of institutionalized racism and outward discrimination against people of color and other underserved communities."

In all fields, women are seeking and finding greater voice. As they do, we remind all who lead that voice is what matters. Allow a person voice and they will speak and sing, become orators and actors and work together on teams.

It is important to teach children to understand something beyond 'us and them' and 'good or bad'. It is in the opposition of terms that fear, and sometimes hate, can develop.

Guest blogger Amanda Ronan says, "As a school leader, you probably don't need federal guidelines to tell you whether these practices are negatively impacting your school and your students. School climate is under your jurisdiction, so you know what's bubbling up in your environment."

No matter what a leader is facing, when both sides hold strong and in their own way are right, it takes time for a leader to resolve within her or himself how to proceed.


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