Earlier this fall CEL launched another superintendents’ network in partnership with the Puget Sound Educational Service District. Superintendents and their immediate deputy/assistant from the following Washington State school districts are participating: Eatonville, Enumclaw, Orting, Peninsula, Seattle, Shoreline, Snoqualmie Valley, and Tahoma. The network was created with the following challenge, purpose and theory of action in mind.
The leadership expertise needed for the improvement of instruction is a complex phenomenon. It requires the development of a mix of subject matter content knowledge, knowledge of various means for how students learn that content, and pedagogical knowledge regarding ways to teach the subject matter content. As well, this particular kind of expertise requires leaders to know about how individual teachers learn to teach more effectively; how to skillfully observe for those elements in the instructional process; and, how to craft feedback to teachers and principals about what is observed that supports their current practice, and at the same time challenges them to improve. Furthermore, in order to create and sustain a professional community that flourishes with continuous learning, leaders need to be able to engage in the adaptive work of cultural change. If teachers are to thrive in challenging school environments, then leaders need to be able to influence the ways in which teachers work and learn together. This raises the following questions of leadership practice specific to school district superintendents: