May 2015 Newsletter
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Spring Gardening in Santa Fe
By Linda Henke
David and I love spring because it feeds our passion for gardening.  Our move from St Louis to the Southwest has opened up a whole new area for learning as we discover the beautiful plants that thrive in New Mexico’s challenging ecosystem.  Our hobby reminds me that every setting is different. Assuming we can simply transplant what we know from one place to another can get us in all kinds of trouble—in gardening and in school work! We love our new mountain garden (and we sneaked in a couple of hydrangeas to remind us of our old garden!) We find such pleasure in the daily changes in the garden. I don’t think there can be a better lesson in the value of continuous improvement. 
Spring in the Schools
This spring our consultants have been supporting school leaders and school systems around the country and internationally.  Make sure you check out Ashley Cadwell’s thoughtful description of Louise and his work with staff at La Scuola in Miami where elementary teachers are exploring year-long inquiry questions with students. Their amazing work is highlighted as the featured project on our website. Ashley also reinforces how powerful protocols can impact conversations about school work.
 I have just concluded a two-year project with Grand Center Arts Academy in St. Louis as they developed a rich and articulated curriculum for their young school.  The blog on our website lays out the process we followed to build a curriculum from scratch. Our goal was to infuse art into all of the disciplines and to focus on deep and sustained collaboration among the disciplines.  The result is some of the best curricula I have seen—alive with rich experiences for Grand Center middle and high school students.
Summer Reading
Don’t forget to check out our recommendations for summer reading on the website.  
This Just In
Kevin Grawer, principal at MRH High School, has just informed us that MRH High School received the top honor for outstanding urban high school in the nation from the National Center for Urban School Transformation. What an honor!  And well deserved.  Kevin has worked tirelessly and is a perfect example of what a transformational leader looks like and sounds like. The staff at MRH exemplifies as well the high level of personalized service and commitment to students that is a part of outstanding schools.  Congratulations to the school.
Narrative as a Critical Tool for Transformational Leaders

A story is a fundamental way that humans organize and store information.
                                                Jane Friedman (Friedman)
Indigenous people the world over have long recognized the power of story to give their lives coherence and purpose. Across geography and cultures, rich story captures history, cultural mores, and identity. Steve Denning, who has done a great deal of research into story and leadership describes them both this way: A narrative or story in its broadest sense is anything told or recounted; more narrowly, and more usually, something told or recounted in the form of a causally-linked set of events. (Denning)  While we sometimes use the two terms interchangeably, one useful distinction is that story has an arc, a beginning, middle and ending that develops a plot.  Narrative, on the other hand, can remain quite open ended, although it uses the elements of story to create meaning. Both, however, serve leaders as they attempt to influence the culture in an organization, tapping into the human brain in ways simple facts cannot. Story triggers emotions and connections that are seldom accessed in other kinds of language.
Welcome our newest consultants
We are delighted to introduce two new consultants who are joining the Center:  Dr. Natalie Thomas and Lee Ann Lyons.  Both come with a wealth of experience in areas complementing our current array of consultants.
Dr. Natalie Thomas believes that addressing the behavioral and emotional needs of students is essential to academic success. She collaborates with teachers and administrators nationally and internationally to integrate attention to these critical elements with the development of curriculum and instruction. She also provides much needed support to districts in reviewing related policy and providing appropriate professional development to insure differentiation is part of classroom practice. Dr. Thomas’background in educational administration, school psychology, and special education provides her with a broad range of knowledge and school experiences to draw upon.

Lee Ann Lyons serves as Senior Professional Coach for University of Missouri St. Louis, where she and her Learning Partnership Design colleagues developed CoachED, a course for practicing teachers and administrators who participate in customized coaching to advance learning through on-site collaboration as well as through videotaped sessions with ongoing feedback. Lee Ann also works as an adjunct professor at Webster University where she teaches graduate courses in the MAT Reading Program and supervises graduate students doing their reading practicum required for reading specialist certification.
Copyright © 2015 Santa Fe Center for Transformational School Leadership, All rights reserved.

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