Transforming teaching and learning in public education

In an Era of Destabilization

by Dena R. Cushenberry, Ed.D.

with Leonard C. Burrello, Ed.D.

Why I wrote this book

Through my 37 years as an educator I have learned a myriad of lessons I feel obligated to share with current and future leaders that have impacted my journey as a school and district leader. These experiences have impacted the way I view  the future generations of leaders and skill sets necessary to enable them to lead in an era of destabilizing state and federal policy. Navigating the political landscape and developing leaders to advocate for student learning and community well-being through redevelopment efforts are huge tasks. As the second largest business in the community next to our community hospital, we played a major role in providing jobs and maintaining high quality schools that attracted enrollment and kept our community thriving.

And why now?

With the insertion of state vouchers and private school compensation, public education funding is forever changed. The implications for the most vulnerable and diverse students with the most obstacles to overcome- require district leaders and school boards to rethink the best way to deliver quality education with less resources. This book is for prospective administrators, superintendents and school board members to help them understand the changing, landscape of public education and why it is important to do it now.  

Leonard observes too many school districts have not clearly articulated a distinct purpose and created the guardrails or core values to ensure their actions are in pursuit of their purposes and values. Dr. Cushenberry and her team created district and school level exemplars of how an effective district can come to know and learn while implementing innovations and navigating within a turbulent policy, political, and financial environment. Anderson and Young (2018) have called for district case studies to illuminate how leaders develop effective learning organizations for students and staff alike. Leadership starts with intent wrote James MacGregor Burns (1978), everything else is strategy and tactics including the metrics to determine success even though some intents do not come regularities of district practice.