A Leader's Top Task Is To Nurture Talent


By Learning Forward
February 2016
 “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”  Albert Einstein School leaders who take professional learning seriously recognize that they are in an important business: talent development. This is not a perspective that is typically taught during administrator preparation programs, nor is it a focus that one often associates with the perspectives of district human resources departments. Yet creating learning schools requires that we pay attention to cultivating a learning orientation among teachers, particularly if the individuals in those groups are not ready to engage in collective reflective practice. Teachers and other professionals have many talents, but they need to be assessed, honed, and shared if professional learning is to become a core feature of the school’s culture. Before we begin thinking

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Karen Seashore Louis

Karen Seashore Louis is the Rodney Wallace Professor of Educational Policy and Administration at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Her area of expertise includes improvement in K-12 leadership and policy over the last 30 years, particularly in urban secondary schools. Louis also conducts research on organizational changes within higher education, with particular attention to faculty roles, and on international comparative policy in educational reform.

In her full essay exploring the Leadership standard in Reach the Highest Standard in Professional Learning: Leadership, author Karen Seashore Louis offers keen insights into the question of how leaders affect the learning of other adults in a school. She writes particularly about how “school leaders can create a school culture in which all adults see themselves as part of the larger enterprise of continuous learning” (Louis, Hord, & von Frank, in press).

This excerpt takes a close look at what leaders need to understand about how learners approach change and their role in helping create a culture that recognizes the humans at the heart of change.

Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate, and create support systems for professional learning. 

About the Book

a-leaders-top-task-is-to-nurture-talentLouis, K.S., Hord, S.M., & von Frank, V. (in press). Reach the highest standard in professional learning: Leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Excerpted with permission.


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Learning Forward is the only professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development. We help our members plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so they can achieve success with their systems, schools, and students.

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