Transforming Schools and Empowering Educators with Shaun Nelms | The LP: EP 17

January 3, 2024


If a table won’t stand without well-distributed legs, a bridge won’t hold weight without well-distributed force, and a car can’t run without a well-distributed frame, what makes us think that we can accomplish goals in our school buildings without well-distributed leadership? Even in most dysfunctional school systems, distributive leadership can produce better collaboration and insight that can lead to better cultural and instructional outcomes. I got a chance to talk with Dr. Shaun Nelms about his book Leading With Purpose: Empowering Others to Create Lasting Change. Join us as we discuss the personal and professional journeys that are empowered when we see and recognize the power in others.

Key Takeaways:

  • Literature and books can transport readers to new places and perspectives, expanding their worldviews.
  • Distributed leadership and teacher empowerment are critical to transforming low-performing schools.
  • Leaders should “celebrate incompetence” – trying new things and making mistakes – to encourage the same from teachers and students. This promotes a culture of innovation and risk-taking.
  • Finding supportive networks, including mental health professionals, is key for educator self-care and preventing burnout. Processing challenges and celebrating successes with others provides perspective.
  • Curriculum represents a “moral contract” with students – conscious decisions on what is included or excluded communicate what material and perspectives have value. Curriculum should ensure diverse representation.