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4thAAs a former history teacher, Independence Day makes me think about the importance of speaking courageously — about big and small things. As John Adams wrote, “Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.” I think of the brave men and women who founded our nation, those who have spoken out to improve it along the way, and those who speak courageously today to make our world a more equitable and just place for all people.  But this year, I also think of the group of 75 education leaders we met with in Wisconsin last week. Superintendents, central office leaders, principals, and assistant principals joined our Studer Education team to learn about leadership and holding ourselves accountable through performance scorecards. Throughout the day, these leaders engaged in courageous talk about the challenges before them, the urgent needs of their students and employees, and their commitment to continuous improvement. I captured some of their words — those spoken in the whole-group discussion, in this Tagxedo word cloud:

4thBI appreciate hearing our leaders naming their barriers and fears, and aspiring to serve their students better every day. When asked to describe what a successful year would look like, our participants said: personalized instruction, student achievement gains, closing the gap for students with special needs, effective professional development for all of our teachers, and social justice. What courage! I feel privileged to support these leaders in their important work. Please see our partner superintendents and their colleagues, below.

4thCInterested in learning some strategies for speaking courageously? Read about effective principal (or other educational leader) behaviors that include leader rounding and early meetings with new teachers. Contact us for more information about our coaching for continuous leadership development and systems improvement. Register now for a complimentary 1-day learning session with our partners in Chicago, August 6th.

The participants in last week’s Leadership Development Institute were from four Studer Education partners in Wisconsin: Kettle-Moraine School District, Muskego-Norway School District, Oconomowoc Area School District, and Pewaukee School District. Many thanks to those leaders for their dedicated work!




MatarazzoMelissa is an Evidence-Based Leadership coach for Studer Education, located in Pensacola, FL. Previously, she served as the Executive Director for Achievement and Accountability in the Charleston County (SC) School District. She earned her Ed.D. through the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s (HGSE) Urban Superintendents Program, and received both a Masters in School Leadership and a Masters in Education Policy and Management from HGSE. Melissa has also served as a middle school principal in the Peabody (MA) Public Schools, and as an 8th grade teacher and assistant principal in the Derry (NH) Cooperative School District. Melissa has coached aspiring and novice leaders at KIPP Jacksonville, FL; supervised teacher interns at the College of Charleston, SC and instructed graduate students in administration at American International College in Springfield, MA. Follow Dr. Matarazzo on Twitter at @LrngLdr and follow Dr. M’s weekly post “Try This Tip” here.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the sixth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.