Category Archives: leadership

Changing the Mindset of School Leaders Through the Empowerment of Instructional Coaches

I have recently explored ISTE Coaching Standarto try to understand how professional learning impacts explicitly the use of education technology. This week specifically I looked at the influence of school leadership or administration and how they influence the professional learning and educational technology adoption process of the staff.

Taking advantage of technology in the classroom makes the support of a proScreen Shot 2018-02-28 at 10.34.37 PMactive school administrator who should help facilitate, and organize along with the district instructional technology task force. Within chapter three of the Project Evaluation Report Transforming Professional Learning in Washington State entitled Professional Learning Requires Attention to School and District Culture Attending it states that “the “culture” of a school or district organization requires careful attention to a variety of indicators. Desimone (2009) articulates that professional development is not one-size-fits-all that can universally be applied across contexts.  As school leadership is examining how they approach professional learning they need to keep in mind that adults learn need to have the opportunity to approach the content in a variety of contexts.  Moreover, as administrators must take on several roles in the building they can’t always be focused on these different approaches to learning.  Therefore, how can district instructional coaches (or whatever you call them in your district) be seen by administrators to hold more of a leadershiprole. Renewed+Vision+for+Leadership_+Leadership+for+Learning

When I was perusing my latest installment of English Leadership Quarterly that is a part of my NCTE membership I found an article entitled “Toward Online Participation as Teacher Leadership” by Luke Rodesiler, Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne.  This piece had a few gems in it regarding the thought process of leadership.  I know it mainly pertains to English teachers, but I think it can be applied to all educators Pre K thru Higher Education. Here is a quote “ I recognize leadership not as the product of a formal appointment in a top-down, authority-driven model but, like Lambert and colleagues (2002), as a reciprocal process embraced by those who see the need or the opportunity. This vision of leadership is not about rigid and unchanging hierarchies; instead, it promotes the boundaries of leadership as porous and flexible, allowing teachers to carry out acts of leadership as they see fit and as they are able. Additionally, for the purposes of this article, I recognize English teachers’ online participation as the creation of new content on the Web in an exploration of issues at the center of an English teacher’s work: teaching, learning, and literacy” (Rodesiler, 2018, p. 3).

Admins – Let Instructional Coaches Be your Marketing Team

Leaders who believe they can delegate the articulation of a vision for how technology can support their organization’s learning goals are those who will be the most successful in this reciprocal process. As district officials and school administrators do not have press relations managers nor do they employee marketing directors, they still need to communicate the districts message and brand.  It is important that those looking to move to the neighborhood understand who the school’s leaders are and how they will help their children. Rodesiler goes on to explain that when leadership is delegated one can “draw(n) from a content analysis of collected artifacts to document three acts of leadership embedded in the routine online participation of [English] teachers in the study: (a) making teaching practices public; (b) speaking out on topical issues in education; and (c) creating platforms for others” (2018, p. 4).  I think these three acts of leadership can lead to better job satisfaction for the administration, better community advocacy and involvement, and in the end teacher retention. 

Making teaching practices public

Before I started the DEL program at SPU, I was in need of finding people who were public about the teaching practice.  As an educator, it became crucial for me to communicate with people who were like-minded and I could find mentorship for my future.  This task required me to go online and seek these people out myself.  As I got more and more involved with Twitter and other public practices I witnessed how teachers “participated online, teachers in the study spoke out about topics tied closely to their work as educators, including curriculum decision-making, professional development, and the de-professionalization of teaching. In doing so, they took on the responsibility of adding their voices to conversations that all too often seem to be dominated by those outside the field of education” (Rodesiler, 2018, p. 3). As documented, the Web offers teachers multiple and varied avenues for exercising their influence and inviting others to do the same.  This evidence of influence can only help administrators and district officials make a case for the power of their school and their vision. 

Speaking out on topical issues in education

Although leadership in technology is needed across all levels of the education system, the need in PK–12 public schools is acute. Getting technology in schools is a multi-layer systematic change that takes budges and board members approval.  But it needs to begin to move quicker because as of 2017, twenty percent of school-aged children media consumption comes from mobile devices. Children’s use of electronic media is increasing, resulting in significant part from tech transformations, easy access to mobile devices, especially cell phones. Which meansThe majority of students may not be able to stop by the classroom after school but could interact with school while using some sort of technology. This can allow for real-time access to resources, due dates, and feedback.  On top of that  Did you also know…Only 58% of parents of school-aged children carried smartphones in 2010. Now 94% of parents of are smartphone users.  This means that the topical issues and the information being shared are happening online and on mobile devices. 

Creating platforms for others

Whichever tools the administrators condones for the educators to spread the great news of the district in school be it Twitter, Edmodo School Pages,  Facebook, Linkedin, or perhaps something like WordPress or another blog system like Medium. Demonstrating how administrators have used some of these platforms for positive career development should help persuade reluctant educators of their importance.  I believe that instructional coaches could take on the role of also demonstrating how educators can become their own advocates, self-promoters, and networking gurus if they are only willing to make their practice a bit more public.

Student Communication Tools


Bishop, D, Lumpe, A., Henrikson, R, & Crane, C. (2016). Transforming Professional Learning in Washington State – Project Evaluation Report. Seattle Pacific University: Seattle, WA.

Rodesiler, L. (2018). Toward Online Participation as Teacher Leadership. English Leadership Quarterly, 40(3), feb, 3-6. Retrieved February 25, 2018, from

Systems Framework for Digital Environments

While studying the needs of teacher professional development in a digital age, I wondered what is the optimal way in which to promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment. One knows the school leadership establishes the goals and develops the process that supports and sustains the environment that allows teachers to innovate classrooms… Continue Reading Systems Framework for Digital Environments

EDTC 6105: ISTE Coaching Standard 4b: Utilizing Technology for PD

ISTE Coaching Standard 4 provides three benchmarks for technology coaches to conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs and evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning. My focus is on performance indicator b: Design, develop and implement technology-rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning

Technology embedded Professional Development

Technology can bring benefits to the classroom, and can be used to provide authentic learning activities. One way to help educators is to show them how to effectively use technology in their classroom, in the same way as we would our students, in authentic learning activities that are integrated as part of professional development. Increasing… Continue Reading Technology embedded Professional Development

Peer Coaching: Stronger Together

Tis the season…along every arterial median these days are multitudes of political signs with every catchy campaign slogan imaginable. There is one slogan during this campaign season I find relatable to this quarter’s class as we delve in to unpacking the ISTE Coaching Standards, specifically Standard 1: Visionary Leadership: Technology coaches inspire and participate in the development and […]

Certification Program Redesign: Needs Assessment


One of the biggest takeaways from my time in the Digital Education Leadership program through Seattle Pacific University is that teachers are students, too. When diving into effective mentoring and professional development, some of the most successful strategies are those that are also used in the classroom. Many back-to-school workshops remind teachers to get to know their students and provide differentiation in every learning experience. In other words, providing learners (adults included) with a pre-assessment (formal or informal) to determine where they are in order to reach where they need to be.

Edutopia has a great article and video that touches on the importance of assessment before learning even begins:

In an earlier post, I wrote about my journey in reviewing and redesigning a university’s Library Media Endorsement (LME) certification program. Here, I continue that work by drafting a Needs Assessment survey for potential students. As I mentioned in my last post, the program is not yet finalized, so I am omitting the name of the institution and it will henceforth be identified as “University.”

Before writing the Needs Assessment survey, I did a bit of background research, attempting to see how other schools have assessed their incoming … Read More

Certification Program Redesign: Program Evaluation


When I talk to people about the Digital Education Leadership program through Seattle Pacific University, I often end up saying, “Well, there’s homework, but it’s not really homework. I do work, but it’s directly related to my responsibilities as a librarian and an educator. So, it’s homework but it’s not really homework. It’s bigger than that. It has more significance than ‘homework.'” While this has been proven throughout the duration of the program, it couldn’t have been more true than when I was offered the opportunity to redesign a Library Media Endorsement certification program… As part of my “homework.”

My classmates and I were recently tasked with conducting a program evaluation. Students learned “how to conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs,  evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning, and communicate findings to the institution” (Course syllabus). Dr. David Wicks, Chair of the Digital Education Leadership program, came to me with a wonderful opportunity to redesign a university’s Library Media Endorsement (LME) certification program. Because the program is not yet finalized, I am omitting the name of the institution and it will henceforth be identified as “University.”

Program Evaluation

The project was designed to evaluate … Read More

The Makings of a Successful Professional Development Program

This quarter in the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University I am focused on the fourth standard of the ISTE Coaching Standards, Professional Development and Program Evaluation:

Technology coaches conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs, and evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning.

Over the last several weeks, my classmates and I have learned how to implement a successful professional development program and I have identified the following elements as being most useful when evaluating a professional development program:

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Sadly, professional development is generally “something that is ‘done’ to teachers” (Pilar, 2014). Teachers need opportunities to explore their own interests and venture into those topics at a personalized level that works for their individual learning styles. In a study conducted by the Center for Professional Education, it was found that “90% of teachers reported participating in some form of professional development, and they also reported that it was not helpful in their practice. Thus, professional development is happening, but it is not effective” (Blattner, 2015). Imagine a place where teachers drive their learning by expressing their interests, learning at their own pace, implementing their discoveries and reflecting on their current and future practices. … Read More

EDTC 6433 – Module 5 – Establishing Technology Leaders

ISTE Standard 5 inspiration: Exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others.

How can I as someone who wants to show teachers what I use on a daily basis regarding technology do that and develop the leadership and technology skills of others?  This issue is one of the roots at which I am going back to school for my doctorate.  How do we provide useful, exciting tech professional development that also allows teachers their leadership possibilities?

Using the article I found consolidates the idea of “Technology Teacher Leader” into five steps. The first step is that educational tech leaders should know their instructional strengths.  This step alludes to the fact that I am an ELA/SS teacher, and my colleagues would be more willing to listen to me about software that connects with my field of practice.  For example, I use a ton and feel comfortable doing professional development for my fellow teachers on some of its more advanced options and tools.  When it comes to the collaborating with administrators, I think this is one of the most difficult steps. Especially if you are new to the school or district because they do have their teacher leaders already set up and you have to go out of your way to prove to them that you can be trusted, and know what you are talking about.  I wish teacher interviews were more interactive and relevant to how teaching really is because then I could have demonstrated my skill in a lesson or something instead of being timed and answering perfunctory questions.


The third and fourth step, to establish procedures and prioritize needs understand your school community is where I would look to the ISTE standards and perhaps reach out to the Twitter universe to see how other teacher leaders have successfully established procedures.   Because my school is Redmond and we are pretty heavy handed with the Microsoft products it is sometimes hard to vocalize my support for Google and Apple.  It is also difficult to suggest anything that isn’t already sanctioned by the district because admin and teachers are so scared of litigious parents and a lackluster support for the union.  Especially when teaching teachers, skills training is good, but leadership development is best because this requires an instinct to try new things and explore what is out there.  That takes time and support because sometimes we might try something that turns out badly but we still want to support that from our administration.


Moreover, all five points are valuable and informative I enjoyed reading about the fifth step, and how “teaching “how to” skills is a common theme for technology training, but only when instructional applications are made to the curriculum does actual development begin. The role of the technology specialist is part staff development: helping teachers expand their instructional repertoire with technology. With these new skills come the opportunity for encouraging teacher leadership.” And as CollisonK said during our forum discussion, “This is so very true. Given the nature of our job, teacher training can be difficult as teachers can often find the process a bit infantilizing.”   It is important to demonstrate implementation and seamless weaving from the technology to the classroom.


Ledesma, Patrick. “Technology Experts in Schools: Teacher Leaders or Technicians?” Education Week. Teacher Week, 23 Oct. 2011. Web. 08 Mar. 2016.