GLEAM™ Leadership: Leading with Bravery

January 18, 2024

The Urgent Need for Change in Education

Leaders actively seek effective strategies for implementing equitable instruction in the current educational climate. The pathway to turning this vision into practice can be elusive. At UnboundEd, we’ve spent several years talking about GLEAM™—Grade-Level, Engaging, Affirming, and Meaningful—instruction. By aligning GLEAM™ instructional practices to specific beliefs, knowledge, and actions for leaders, we believe we have a tangible blueprint to guide leaders through the complexities of today’s educational landscape, enabling them to create environments where equity and excellence in education are not just aspirational goals but lived realities for all students. At the heart of this endeavor is GLEAM™ Leadership. 


GLEAM™ Leadership Requires Bravery

At UnboundEd, we believe justice is found in the details of teaching and learning®. What about the details of your leadership? GLEAM™ Leadership is inherently justice-seeking, advocating for change and equity in education through consistent reflection about oneself and the system: oneself in the system, oneself as the system, and oneself for the system. This bravery moves beyond the “how-tos” of leadership and calls for active championing of justice and equity to live at the core of all systems.




How can leaders center justice and equity in all systems?

  • Create Your Vision for Justice: Envision and actively construct educational environments where equity and justice are not just ideals but realities embedded in every aspect of the system by galvanizing collective efficacy among your team to foster action-oriented strategies for creating equitable instruction and systems. Delve into the development of a shared instructional vision that embodies justice and equity. Collaborate to identify and dismantle barriers within the educational system that hinder equitable outcomes. 
  • Critique Self and System: Engage in deep self-reflection and a willingness to assess the system critically. Go through the iterative process of assessing and realigning beliefs, knowledge, and actions to ensure they resonate with equity in education and actively contribute to creating a more equitable and just educational landscape.
  • Challenge Dominant Cultural Norms: Reflect on the manifestation of racial and policy histories in current educational systems to bravely confront and question entrenched cultural norms. Identify manifestations that may inadvertently perpetuate inequities and plan to initiate revisions to practices, policies, and programs for more equitable, inclusive, and just systems.
  • Foster Courageous Conversations: Create spaces for open, honest discussions about equity and justice. Be bold in speaking out against injustices and foster an environment where others are encouraged and empowered to engage in these critical conversations. Looking for a resource? Download our Anti-Bias Toolkit.
  • Model and Inspire Bravery: Initiate dialogue that fosters inclusivity, equity, and justice by addressing systemic barriers in the educational setting, reflect on how power and privilege apply to your leadership style, and encourage strategies that promote internalization among your team.

As we continue to explore and implement these principles, we invite you to join the conversation. What does bravery in leadership mean to you? How do you see these elements of leading with bravery playing out in your educational context? Together, let’s shape a future where educational equity is not just a goal but a reality achieved through our collective courage and commitment.


Ready to bring GLEAM™ Leadership to life?

Transforming instruction takes brave leadership, a clear vision, thoughtful planning, and a strong team. Join us at Leadership Institute and learn to set up school systems that recognize and honor all kids and produce standards-based, equity-focused, and culturally responsive teaching and learning experiences for every student.