As Scott Morgan, Founder and CEO of Education Pioneers, passes the CEO torch to Melissa Wu this month, the EP team is thinking back to many of the insightful reflections he’s written over the years. We invite you to skim through a few highlights and click the available links to read his full posts.
Scott, thank you for 15 years of leading EP, and for sharing lessons throughout your journey!
On Courage & Vulnerability
Our students need leaders from the classroom to the board room and everywhere in between to be vulnerable and courageous. They should expect it from us. We should also expect it from ourselves and each other.
On Education as a Career Path
As a newly-minted graduate from Notre Dame, my first career step was into a classroom in Montgomery, Ala. My experience as a teacher was powerful and life-changing. In fact, it informed all of my future steps.
There are possibilities in education even for people who don't feel a call to the classroom. Skilled leaders and managers make a tremendous impact in education. In fact, a study from the Wallace Foundation found that strong leadership is second only to teaching when it comes to what students learn in school.
The work that leaders in education take on is complex and challenging. Many roles outside the school building—in finance, operations, human capital or marketing—look similar to what you'll find in other sectors. Except in education, the stakes are much higher.
Working in education provides a lever to effect meaningful change for students and communities. In the words of Archimedes, "Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough, and I will move the world."
On Leveraging a Network
A network mindset—or, in other words, knowing the power of having a robust network and cultivating your network actively—isn’t surface level and transactional like simply swapping business cards. Instead, it’s about building, growing, evolving, and deepening relationships with people.
For me, a network mindset helped me launch and grow Education Pioneers. I’ve relied on my own cross-sector network of leaders from all walks of life to help me see and solve challenges, get unstuck, develop new ideas, and help others do the same. Plus, a network mindset keeps me connected me with great people who make the work even more meaningful.
On Leadership and Talent in Education
We need leaders who can help principals spend less time on administrative tasks and more time providing valuable feedback to teachers; who can analyze the reasons for teacher and principal turnover and develop solutions to increase retention; who can implement talent management solutions designed to place the right teachers in the right classrooms to advance equity and excellence in education; and so much more.
If we can bring best-in-class leadership and management practices to education, we can create schools and school systems where our nation’s most talented, diverse professionals clamor to work now and for decades to come.
At Education Pioneers, we don't believe that any one industry has a lock on the answer, or that there is a one-size-fits-all solution. That's why we attract, prepare, and advance leaders from law, policy, business, and education, as well as cross-sector and hybrid leaders. Combining diverse, multidisciplinary perspectives is powerful because it introduces unique lenses to accelerate cage-busting.
The education sector must become a talent magnet that draws great people to the teaching profession and retains top performers. Responsibility for this important work lies on the shoulders of leaders and managers that run school systems and shape the policy environment in which school leaders operate.
While we don’t believe in silver bullets at Education Pioneers, we do believe in making smart bets. Investing in leadership and management talent is essential to advance the all-important cause of providing all students in our great nation with a high-quality education that prepares them to thrive in college, career and citizenship.
On Moral Responsibility
Like so many colleagues I work with inside and outside of EP, I feel a strong sense of duty to continue the long, hard struggle that has been fought by millions over the centuries to end injustice in our country. We are now at a critical juncture as a nation and a people that requires the very best of us—indeed, to be better than we have been. We have a moral responsibility to raise our voices and come together to advance justice and peace in our nation.