After seven wonderful years designing learning and teaching at ConnectED, I left to attend a doctoral program in Education Leadership at Harvard. There are many times over the past year that I’ve been struck by just what a thorough foundation ConnectED has provided me with, grounded in both theory and practice.

My work remains focused on tackling both the complexities and the opportunities in creating equitable education opportunities for all students. While we all know that there are no silver bullets when it comes to education, I’d like to share some reflections from my first year at Harvard that are just as true for my work at ConnectED:

  1. Respect the leaders and practitioners working in a wildly incoherent system.  From Professor David Cohen, author of Teaching and its Predicaments, I examined the absurd number of competing interests educators face in working with students. I so appreciate how ConnectED works to align so many stakeholders—from policy makers, foundations, district leaders, teachers, businesses, and communities—in service of students.
  2. Who we are matters. Professor Lisa Lahey, author of Immunity to Change, led my cohort in a deep examination of who we are as leaders—our core identity, values, and motivations. Ultimately, what we have to offer the field is ourselves. I admire how ConnectED works hard to lead with integrity internally, as well as in every partnership and engagement.
  3. Don’t settle for less than transformational learning—for both students and adults.  Professor Jal Mehta, author of In Search of Deeper Learning, modeled for us the humility and relentless drive needed to engage learners of all ages.  I profoundly respect how ConnectED, particularly the Learning, Teaching, and Pathway Development Team, maintains a high bar for what we know students—and adults—can achieve in their own growth for a better future.

These are just a few of the connections I’ve drawn between my time at Harvard and ConnectED. And I expect they won’t be the last.

In the spirit of continuous learning, I leave you with two questions.

  • (How) do you experience the above reflections in your organization?
  • What other factors will help our field reach the educational transformation we know is possible?