Looking for the next generation leader

Australia has its Sport Hall of Fame, the US has its Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but where are the Education Halls of Fame?  We can name the great teachers that have touched our lives but what about the great school leaders? There are a plethora of books on educational leaders and educational leadership but who do we hold up within the educational community as exemplars of school leadership in today’s world?

These are some of the questions we’ve been reflecting on as we prepare to open a new school in outer Western Sydney next year. The proposed St Luke’s at Marsden Park will be ‘next generation’ – an innovative learning community built from the ground up through partnerships with Stephen Heppell, industry and the wider community.

This school will challenge the industrial constructs by embracing a pre to post schooling model not a K-6, 7-12 one. It’s collaboration not isolation, it’s integration not segregation and it’s personalised not programmatic.  We want learning to be adaptable to the changing needs of learners and the changing times in which we live.

We are looking for a next generation school leader who can lead a culture of change and innovation.  Someone that demonstrates 21st century skills like creativity, curiosity, adaptability, problem-solving and collaboration. Next generation leadership is entrepreneurial – looking beyond the next five years; seeing the infinite possibilities and making it happen. This is about being able to lead by example, to lead by doing, to lead by knowing and ultimately, to leave a legacy for future generations locally and globally.

Could it be you?


5 thoughts on “Looking for the next generation leader

  1. It sounds like a wonderful opportunity to focus on learning and innovation without being constrained by the traditional, and seemingly random, lines of demarcation in our traditional models of schooling.

  2. This sounds fantastic. How wonderful to start something different from scratch and not be trying to change long established practises and ingrained mindsets.

  3. Will the students at the new school learn foreign languages? it is certainly not fair to expect the whole world to learn English. English is much harder than it seems at first glance. Even native speakers struggle with spelling, etc. It would be great to teach the children a neutral way of communicating world wide using Esperanto. It helps to get to know lots of different cultures and cultures from Iceland, Hungary and countries whose language we don’t usually learn, it helps to study other languages and it gives children the confidence that learning a second language is possible without having to learn so many irregularities found in nearly all national languages. It helps children to understand better how English works by teaching them about grammar and showing them different ways of expressing things.

  4. Vygotsky was the father of the term Zone of Proximal Development. In many respects what we have been doing in school education since his ground breaking work of early 20 th century is finding ways to meet learners at their points of needs. Some have interpreted this as stage based rather than age based learning. Some have felt the need to build schools wall less to bring into play the physical room
    to meet these needs. Others have taken information communication technologies as a means to meeting the points of needs. To operate in this world and the next will still require a literacy and numeracy that will defy the ages. The real leaders in school education are those who know this. The real leaders are those who understand the multiple cultural forces that are determining and shaping a world Unknown. 10 out of 10 to master thinkers like Greg Whitby who espouse entrepreneurial innovation but to open a school from pre to post school without a leader with intimate knowledge of the growth of children and who need instructional learning at the ZPD would in my humble opinion be fraught with danger. Danger in the sense that the world one day will move from the individual back to the collective where the substance of a person will not be how much they earn and the way they interact with technology, but rather how he/ she understands and interacts with the many cultural forces that keep our world spinning. If I was a person chosen to select the leader of this wonderfully well imagined and researched school then I would be wanting a leader who has an intimate knowledge and understanding of how children think. Moreover I would select a person who currently runs an organisation, even a school with great understanding of Harvard University’s Project Zero and the work of Professors such as Ron Ritchhart. Learning is about meeting points of needs it is also about moving from teacher centric to student driven learning . Understand the cultural forces at work and invest in thinking routines and even fancy gadgets in our connected world can be really used to great effect.

    1. Thank you for putting it so eloquently and putting some depth to the thinking, Frank. We face a future with great opportunities but we need to keep clear the core of the work on the learning and the relationships that come from learning together. Finally you’ve hit the nail on the head, we require people who can think.

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