Frederick Brown is Learning Forward’s president | CEO. Prior to joining Learning Forward, Brown served as a senior program officer for the New York City based Wallace Foundation where he guided the work of several major grantees, including the Southern Regional Education Board; the Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburgh; and the states of Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Oregon, Kansas, and New Jersey.
Before joining The Wallace Foundation, Brown was director of the Leadership Academy and Urban Network for Chicago (LAUNCH), an organization whose mission was to identify, train, and support principals for the Chicago Public Schools. In 2005, LAUNCH was highlighted by the U.S. Department of Education as an Innovative Pathway to the Principalship.
Brown’s expertise is grounded in real-world experience. He has been an elementary school teacher and principal as well as a middle school assistant principal. He also served as a founding member of the Mathematics and Equity Teams for Ohio’s Project Discovery, a statewide initiative to improve mathematics and science instruction.
Over the past 15 years, Brown has been a leader in designing and facilitating cutting-edge learning experiences for school and district administrators on topics such as cultural competence, leadership, and professional learning communities.
Followers of the Learning Forward blog know that we changed our name several years ago from the National Staff Development Council to Learning Forward. Later this year, we’ll reach the five-year anniversary of the new name. As I reflect on those years, I think about some of the learning I’ve seen in schools and districts that leads me to ask, “Are you learning forward or backward?”
As an elementary teacher in Elyria, Ohio, a small urban district about 30 miles west of Cleveland, I looked forward to asking my students the question all my teachers had asked me that first day of school: “What did you do this summer?”
Frederick Brown shares his reflections on his high school band leader, Mr. White, who embodied the Leadership standard of the Standards for Professional Learning by developing capacity for learning and leading, advocating for learning, and creating support systems and structures.
A lot of change efforts and professional learning are well-intentioned, but simply don’t bring about the kinds of changes in practice their designers envisioned. The Implementation standard tells us that successful implementation begins with adult learning and change process research; provides ongoing support for individuals, teams, and schools in a variety of ways; and includes “constructive feedback and reflection to support continuous improvement in practice.” Read how to consider the Implementation standard when planning professional learning.
Sometimes the data tell us things about our systems or ourselves that we may not want to hear. Learn strategies for making meaning from the data in front of us instead of forcing it to fit a preconceived understanding.