Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Developing Educational Leaders: National Mentoring Month

It has been a number of years since I first became involved in the development of Formal Mentoring Programs. My doctoral dissertation from UCLA, “Lending a Helping Hand: Mentoring Latina and Latino Leaders Into the 21st Century” was recognized by the UCLA Doctoral Program as one of the outstanding program dissertations. However, now serving as the Director of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership at Fresno State and chairing a number of doctoral student dissertations, I recognize that my dissertation was recognized more for its practicality than its academic content.
Nevertheless, the research experience of meeting with and interviewing Latina and Latino superintendents and assistant superintendents from throughout the State of California became life and career changing. Up to that point in my educational career it was my intention to become a school district superintendent. No doubt my educational and social activism would have made my superintendent career short but interesting.

My point in writing this short piece is that the need to develop educational leaders, especially educational leaders of color, still exists. Over the last few years I have had the privilege of developing a mentoring program for my own nonprofit, the Center for Leadership, Equity and Research (CLEAR), while consulting with Fresno State toward the development of a Staff Mentoring Program, the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators (CALSA) for a mentoring program that still exists and was my initial mentoring program venture, Project Vista at California State University Channel Islands, and only recently signed an agreement to consult with ACSA (Association of California School Administrators) toward the development of their own Administrator Mentoring Program.

Over the years it has been my pleasure to see the success that mentoring brings to new and experienced administrators. Protégés (often called mentees) most often gain confidence in their roles and learn to serve others; mentors realize that mentoring helps them share what they have learned and helps develop a legacy.

There have been times over the years that the continual reminder to others that it is our (mentors) duty to serve others through mentoring has been exhausting. Much too often the technical aspects of surviving as an administrator push mentoring relationships and respecting other cultures and ethnicities aside (my next short article).

At some point in time we have all been mentored and many of us mentor, often without realizing that we are doing so. It is important that we take a few moments (actually more than a few moments) to understand that at the end of the day, what we do, who we lead, and how we succeed, is because of each other; especially those that guide us in our journey…our mentors.


Dr. Kenneth R. Magdaleno, Executive Director
Center for Leadership, Equity, and Research (CLEAR)
559-431-5600 t | 559-346-8728 c

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The DREAM: We are all cause in the matter

Monday is Martin Luther King Day, a day of honor and celebration.  And while progress has been made in society,  it is a day that reminds us how far we are from his dream.  From the murder and incarceration of so many young African American men to the income and and opportunity gap that still exists. We are confronted daily by what is not right with America when it comes to race.

The slogan Black Lives Matter reflects both a cry for help, as well as a call to action.  No longer can we, as Americans, afford to say that the movement Martin Luther King started was for the times, and we are in a different place in our history so we no longer worry about equity and equality - we are not.  No longer can we leave it up to others to advocate for what is right.  It is not only our right, but our responsibility to be a part of the solution. While we have all been endowed by the "...Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", these don't automatically happen.  We must be fully engaged in securing these rights, for all men, women, and children.

As we prepare to celebrate Martin Luther King, how are you being a cause in the matter?  Are you only celebrating the past, or are you contributing to changing the future? Thoughts?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Leadership Challenge: Quelling the Churn in School Principals

Systemic change in public education requires high performing schools and districts, where all levels of leadership are well developed.  Unfortunately, one of the greatest challenges facing public school systems  across the country is the incredible turnover of school site leadership.  In fact, a recent report by School Leaders' Network, Churn: The High Cost of Principal Turnover, documented a recidivism rate of 25%.  One quarter of all principals leave their positions each year.

For more than a decade, districts have applied a number of strategies to recruit, hire, retain, and develop school leaders as part of their human capital initiatives.   Many of these efforts have been studied extensively, and have served as seminal work to current efforts that will hopefully begin to quell the loss of site level leaders.  And one of the learnings is that there is no single approach that will address all of the challenges.  It will require a well integrated, sustained, and comprehensive strategy that is well defined, articulated, resourced, and supported.

One District that has worked hard to address its leadership challenge in a comprehensive way is the Denver Public Schools.  Through its new leadership programs it hopes to not only reduce its turnover in site administrator.  Partnerships with local universities, residency programs, as well as more aggressive recruitment and retention efforts, have been institutionalized as formal strategies.  Read more...

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