About the EP Blog
Education Pioneers shares stories of impact, insights, ideas, and opinions to advance the conversation about what great leadership in education looks like.
Recently, the New York Times article about Amazon’s “bruising” workplace made the rounds at Education Pioneers. I’ve spent my career in education, but a lot of what I read about professional life in a tech behemoth sounded familiar. I recognized the best and worst of mission-driven cultures that I’ve seen in certain, though not all, charter schools. The charter schools (and other education organizations) that “churn and burn” their staff happen to be some of the most effective at gap-closing work. Their grueling cultures are acknowledged in service of kids and justice.
In this Q&A, EP Alumna Idrissa Simmonds-Nastili, Director of the Pahara Institute’s NextGen Network, talks about growing up with a global perspective that shaped her career trajectory, why diversity in the most senior levels of leadership in education is crucial for excellence and equity in education, and why all education leaders must have a “heart and mind for listening and learning.”
by Erica Swallow Culture isn’t a decree from on high. It can’t be implemented with the simple swoosh of the CEO’s hand. Instead, it has to be built by and for the entire team it represents. Rather than having executives write handbooks, we should empower teams and individuals to interpret and define the essence of an organization’s culture. And often, some of the best culture-building happens when we literally get out of the building. There’s a ton of literature on creating culture – heck, I’ve even written some of it ! But it wasn’t until this summer that I realized how crucial time outside...
Music is a powerful tool to engage young people both in and outside of school. In Memphis, Tennessee, where music is both a legacy and a critical element of the city’s future, it has the potential to strengthen young people’s connections to their communities and positively impact their lives. Serving as a nonprofit strategy consultant for Memphis Music Initiative this summer yielded four leadership lessons that are critical for all education leaders.
Photo Credit: Jason Parrish I applaud shining a big spotlight on what it takes to succeed as a public education leader. In other sectors and industries, few leadership roles are as complex and demanding as those in education. “The realities of the job are monumental—often managing billion-dollar budgets, hundreds of facilities and decisions that affect tens of thousands of teachers and other employees as well as hundreds of thousands of students and their families,” writes Christina Heitz, managing director of The Broad Academy, in her recent piece, “ What does it take to be an urban schools...