​Leonard C. Burrello
Executive Director
The Center for Appreciative

Organizing in Education
Middletown School District, New York

Introduction to the Interview
This inquiry is guided by the need for new transformative narratives which provide inspired ideas for how to improve public education. It is our intention to study and learn through the eyes of the top leadership and thought partners in the field the sorts of positive actions we can take to advance this transformation of public education at the local, state, and national levels.
Today, there is the ever-intensifying challenge of educating all students equally and individually in the face of damaging orientations towards students of poverty, of color, and of disability. How can we change the narrative of public education in America to dispel these orientations? How can we further develop a public system of schools that retains support from the federal, state, and local communities which must contribute resources? How can we ensure public education’s relevance and build on historic gains to benefit twenty-first century stakeholders? How can we help the public schools to beat out private schools as superior educational institutions?
To this end, we are gathering and sharing the stories of public educators who have committed themselves to bettering the lives of students, families, staff, and whole school communities in this country. We think that public school communities, and the educators who lead within them, are in a challenging place. It’s clear to us that now, more than ever, there is a great need for hope and inspiration to stimulate action based on the idea that public schools can better our society. We’re looking to leaders like yourself to help us generate that hope and inspiration by asking you to reflect on your own work – and to assist us in empowering others by sharing your story.

If you would like to share your story as a school administrator, please email Leonard Burrello at leonard@aoeducation.net
Some Interview Questions to Get You Thinking
Before we present the data from our interview with Dr. Eastwood, here are some of the questions we used during our interview to provoke conversation and dialogue – and so you might start thinking about how you would answer these questions yourself.

​We would like to start by exploring your leadership story and what you have found to be the positive core of your leadership and of the schools and district you are now leading as superintendent:

  • What do you see as the keys to the “evolution” of the district? What was the district like when you first arrived, and what did you envision as your major work then? What is it now, and what can it be in the future?
  • Can you identify a positive success story in the district that you have been a part of?
    • What are the key elements of this story?
    • What role did you play in this story?
    • What are the strengths of the district from your point of view?
    • Can you identify what we call the “positive core” of your district?

And tune in next week for a full summary of the interview and an enlightening look into Dr. Eastwood’s philosophy and career of making great schooling better.