Today marks my first day as Learning Forward’s President and CEO. I’m honored to serve in this role and fully recognize the importance of this position as we collectively work as an organization and as a field to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. Today also marks the beginning of our Independence Day holiday weekend for those of us in the United States, and national holidays often give us a chance to reflect on our history.
Learning Forward celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019, and in all those years, we’ve only had three organizational leaders. I’m honored and humbled to be the fourth. I come to this position on the heels of those three amazing prior leaders – all of whom left their mark on this “small but mighty” association. I also find myself in the enviable position of being able to work with what I believe to be the most talented, dedicated, and passionate staff in the field.
Learning Forward’s Board of Trustees asked me what I considered my key priorities for Learning Forward. I’ll share two of those with you as part of our organizational transparency.
- First, I believe that we are the equity leaders we’ve been waiting for. It’s time to tap even more into the enormous passion and expertise of our staff, members, and stakeholders as we address this critically important area. Now more than ever, our students need access to excellent teachers and leaders, and all educators need access to excellent professional learning.
- Second, as my mentor Shirley Hord often reminded us, real change has greater success when it is guided through social interaction and taps into our emotions. Yes, we know that professional learning can changes students’ lives; we have the research and data to prove it. Our challenge and opportunity are to spread our passion beyond our inner circles, change the hearts and minds of others, and create a true professional learning movement.
As we look ahead, I know our Learning Forward team will work to find a home for these priorities in our organization’s goals and strategies. Our team will also continue to make sure you have the resources and tools you need to improve professional learning in your schools, systems, states, provinces, and countries. Together, we’ll work to achieve our vision of ensuring every educator engages in exemplary professional learning, so every student excels.
In my response to our Learning Forward Board, I ended with the quote shown below. I’ll use that same quote here as I reflect on my own personal sense of urgency around our collective work.
“Tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there ‘is’ such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
Thank you for your continued commitment to our students and educators. Have a wonderful weekend!