Transforming Schools and Empowering Educators with Shaun Nelms | The LP: EP 17

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If a table won't stand without well-distributed legs, a bridge won't hold weight without well-distributed force, and a car can't run without a well-distributed frame, what makes us think that we can accomplish goals in our school buildings without well-distributed leadership? Even in most dysfunctional school systems, distributive leadership can produce better collaboration and insight that can lead to better cultural and instructional outcomes. I got a chance to talk with Dr. Shaun Nelms about his book Leading With Purpose: Empowering Others to Create Lasting Change. Join us as we discuss the personal and professional journeys that are empowered when we see and recognize the power in others. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Literature and books can transport readers to new places and perspectives, expanding their worldviews. 
  • Distributed leadership and teacher empowerment are critical to transforming low-performing schools. 
  • Leaders should "celebrate incompetence" - trying new things and making mistakes - to encourage the same from teachers and students. This promotes a culture of innovation and risk-taking.
  • Finding supportive networks, including mental health professionals, is key for educator self-care and preventing burnout. Processing challenges and celebrating successes with others provides perspective.
  • Curriculum represents a "moral contract" with students - conscious decisions on what is included or excluded communicate what material and perspectives have value. Curriculum should ensure diverse representation.
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Dr. Shaun Nelms
Dr. Shaun Nelms
Author of Leading With Purpose: Empowering Others to Create Lasting Change

About Dr. Shaun Nelms

Dr. Shaun Nelms is an author and prominent figure in the field of education and school transformation. He is the Vice President for Community Partnerships at the University of Rochester (UR) and author of Leading With Purpose: Empowering Others to Create Lasting Change. One of his notable achievements was creating and implementing a school transformation model for the lowest-performing school in the lowest-performing district in New York State. Dr. Nelms is also the Director for the Center for Urban Education Success (CUES) at the UR. Additionally, Dr. Nelms is the CEO of the Nelms Consulting Group, where he provides expertise and guidance on creating equitable school systems and effective administrative leadership.

About The LP: Literature in Practice

UnboundEd's goal is to instill the GLEAM™ (Grade-Level, Engaging, Affirming, and Meaningful) instructional framework into classrooms across the nation with professional development, curated programs, and now with a brand new podcast series, The LP: Literature in Practice. Host Brandon White interviews the authors of today’s thought-provoking educational literature and connects the text to GLEAM.

About Brandon White

Brandon White is a former middle school ELA teacher and Restorative Practices educator for the Rochester City School District. He has worked for seven years as a servant leader intern and site coordinator for Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Summer Literacy Programs in Rochester. He has also advocated for these practices through his participation in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Teacher Advisory Council and through providing professional development at BMGF-sponsored Elevate and Celebrate Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) Conferences.


Episode Extras

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