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Hello from the Santa Fe Center for Transformational School Leadership.  This summer has been an enormously productive one for the Center.  We  worked closely with schools and school leaders all over the United States and are excited by the growth we are experiencing.  In addition to consulting and coaching, three of our consultants have books published that will contribute to our shared learning.  Read about the authors and the new books on our blog posting on the website.
Linda’s early literacy program in Guatemala is nearing the end of its first pilot year.  Teachers are currently assessing students, and the team will be returning to Guatemala to meet with the Commissioner of Education to discuss expanding the program in its second year.  For more information about this project, visit the featured project section of our website.
We hope your school year has started successfully and want to remind you that we are here to support you in any way we can.  Don’t hesitate to give us a call.

David Bristol & Linda Henke |
Developing an Ethic of Excellence in Our Schools

by Linda Henke
Patrick Lencioni’s book The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business is one of our recommended resources for transformational school leaders this month. Lencioni defines a healthy organization as one “that is whole, consistent, and complete—that is when management, operations, strategy and culture fit together and make sense.” [1]
This sense of wholeness of our work is critical, as well, to transformational schools. Too many educational leaders, however, faced with the mandates and demands that are part of running a school, move attention to the culture of their organizations far down on their lists.  Recently I heard one assistant superintendent describe it this way, “Yes, yes, I know all that culture stuff is important, but if we receive less than full accreditation, we are all toast.  I’ll get to culture when I’m sure about accreditation.”
I understand what he is saying and the real pressure he faces.  The problem with this perspective is that you just can’t wait on culture.  As Deal and Peterson explain in their book, Shaping School Culture, culture is simply, “the way we do things around here.” [2]  By design or default, your organization will have a culture. And whether you purposefully consider its effect or not, your behavior as a leader will influence that culture. The question is: Is your school’s culture helping you to succeed, or is it dragging your effectiveness down?
[1] Lencioni, Patrick.  The Advantage.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2012.
[2] Deal, Terrence E. Shaping School Culture: Pitfalls, Paradoxes, and Promises.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009.
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