Most educational leadership programs we know of are preparing leaders for the schools and systems we have, not the ones our students need. They inadvertently sustain the status quo by focusing on tweaking existing school designs for marginal improvements rather than creating and sustaining 21st century designs. We need to create truly innovative new schools and redesign existing ones, and we need to do that work with a much-expanded and strengthened professional, organizational, and systemic competence for innovating. 

Innovating Principals CFG discusses school design while Danforth candidates observe.

Innovating Principals CFG discusses school design while Danforth candidates observe.

Two years ago the Consortium initiated a design and transformation module within the University of Washington’s Danforth Educational Leadership Program. A year-long design cycle attached to real regional dilemmas sought to prepare principal candidates to employ design thinking and related processes in their leadership practice. Building on the learning from that pilot, we developed School Foundry, a new leadership incubator in partnership with Gonzaga University's Principal Certification Program. With funding support from the ECMC Foundation, the first cohort of five principal fellows will begin with the 2017-18 school year, with the intent to launch new or transformed schools in 2018-19. The intent of this work is to encourage new breakthrough school designs and immerse principal candidates in the Consortium’s growing regional network of non-traditional schools and school leaders as well as innovators from other sectors through our partnership with Impact Hub Seattle.

Articles and a guest blog describing the first year of the aforementioned Danforth module are linked below:

Leadership Mindsets for Breakthrough Leaders

Design Thinking Course Trains Future EdLeaders

Update: Leadership for Equity in Washington State

This short video describes a vision for integrating principal leadership programs into a regional network of innovative secondary schools. It was recorded as part of this impact opportunity convening hosted by Getting Smart.