The Merger of CAOE and CORE Square

In 2014, The Center for Appreciative Organizing in Education was formed for two purposes: (1) to create district level leadership and school level team development training based Appreciative Inquiry research and scholarship while (2) publishing books, papers, training videos, radio programming, podcasts, and other forms of media appropriate to promote the preservation and renewal of public education. Its founders include Leonard and Jotham Burrello who had a long history of capturing exemplar practices on video productions of school district, school level, and actual classroom practices across America from Florida to Nevada, from Indiana to Vermont.  

In 2016-18, they invited Linda Beitz from Chicago and John Mann from Florida to publish their first book together: The Positive Manifesto: Transforming Public Education, which outlines how Appreciative Inquiry translates into educational leadership and change practices.  Next came District Level Staff Development in Saint Petersburg, with University of South Florida’s Bishop Center with late, Dean Harold Heller.  A second book in 2018, The Journey of Appreciative School Leadership led by Dr. John Mann, our doctoral student La Sonja Roberts, and Leonard Burrello. This book is a book of training exercises used in principal certification and Masters’ degree programs.

In 2018-2020, the Center invited then Superintendent of Schools in Warren Township Indiana, Dena Cushenberry to prepare a manuscript entitled Vertigo: Transforming Teaching and Learning in Public Schools. The book was a co-project of the Center and Elephant Rock Productions. This book chronicles ten years of a district leadership team responses to state and federal policy changes but just as important is how the district sought to increase depth of knowledge and critical thinking by pursuing a new pathway more aligned with 21 century technology to build a personalizing learning platform with its partner Educational Elements led by Anthony Kim.

In 2021, a retired Superintendent, Dena Cushenberry, an Associate of CAOE from the beginning and a co-trainer, established her own consulting, training, and publishing company, CORE Square, LLC. The first product of her leading collaboration with Leonard Burrello resulted in her new book: Vertigo. 

A Vertigo web-site was created under

Now in 2022, with CORE Square consultancy began in Dallas, Texas and Indiana, Dr. Cushenberry and Dr. Burrello decided to merge their web-site and efforts in writing, training, and publishing under the banner of CORE Square. 

Their first co-project became The Educational Leader Mindsets: Understanding self and how to engage the other the pursuit of a human capacity paradigm. In this  collaboration, Drs. Burrello and Cushenberry, invited La Sonja Roberts, now a professor of Educational Leadership at Western Michigan and four other superintendents from Georgia and Florida, Dr. Robert Avossa, from Washington state, Dr. Lisa Grant, from Florida Dr. John Mann, and from Mississippi, Dr. Alvin Taylor to join them in determining the power of a new paradigm for leadership development based upon the work of Carol Sanford.  This book builds off of Dena’s district experience in transforming her district from a externally driven accountability system to an internal, self-directed student and teacher development system through personalizing teaching and learning using integrated digital content.  

This book is now available from CORE Square and can be ordered on-line at Amazon Books. 

In the merger of CAOE and CORE Square, we have created this web-site to showcase and make accessible descriptions of books and reviewers comments as well as training materials used in our leadership development work to inform and support the work of others seeking ways to preserve and renewal our national treasure, public education in America.