In my opening blog for this conference, I described superintendents as both the Chief Executive Officers and Chief Learning Officers. At the beginning and end of every day, we are the leaders of our districts, modeling what learning should look like in our schools.
As the leaders in our field, are we ready to courageously step forward to defend public education, dispel myths, and subsequently lead our districts forward into a new model of education? Considering and answering these questions requires innovation and forward-thinking — two strong trends in this conference's sessions. How do we put these concepts into practice? Forward-thinking requires having a firm grasp on past knowledge and practice. Utilizing the information of the past to create a foundation for movement forward is critical in our quest to continually improve our public schools.
Innovation requires an unrelenting curiosity. As leaders of our school communities and the greater education field, it's imperative that we welcome thoughtful inquisitiveness. We need to ask “Why?” and even more critically, “Why not?” And we need to encourage this type of professional self evaluation. Ironically, the answers to those questions may lead to ask “Why not?” much more often. Why not try this? Why not investigate that? Why not imagine would could be versus what has always been, and perhaps not worked?
As we ponder what's next after learning from our colleagues, asking the probing, provocative questions unique to our school districts may offer us a pathway for action. Why not personalized learning, why not technology saturated environments, why not allow our children to deeply pursue topics they are interested in, why not? Through the attendance at sessions, we start to stretch ourselves beyond the the “Why nots?” to informed and courageous transformation. We ask nothing less from our administrators, teachers, staff, and most importantly — our students back home. Here's to the power of dreaming big for our students and asking, why not?