We continue to be grateful for the incredible courage, generosity of spirit, and boldness of the pioneers around the country creating incredible places where learners thrive and love learning. At the forefront of creating what learning can look like are not individual leaders but incredible teams and networks of people contributing to and co-creating the pathway forward together.
This week, I had a great opportunity to sit down in Pittsburgh with a handful of amazing leaders of pioneering networks. True to form, each is leading by empowering others and building teams and networks of pioneers doing amazing work together to support learner-centered environments grow and deepen their impact. It is one of the many conversations popping up around the country about how to make sure that networks are collaborating and making individual efforts add up to more than the sum of their parts.
Despite the fact that my work is dedicated to creating the conditions for pioneers to effectively collaborate, share, and learn from each other, I sometimes find it challenging myself.
In the meeting yesterday—one that I was so honored to have been invited to—I found myself feeling defensive at times. Someone would say that we need to create something that I felt Education Reimagined is already doing. My immediate impulse was to want to say, “Wait, don’t do that—we are doing that.”
It took a moment…well, maybe the whole day to switch my context from one of scarcity to one of abundance, from being territorial to realizing that we need hundreds of spaces for pioneers to come together—not just a handful. The context is so important. In those moments when the work becomes about the leader, the work becomes small and weak.
When the context is bringing learner-centered education to life for more and more kids, there is space for all of us to be powerful contributors and collaborators, inviting more and more people to join the field.
It is always an on-going process of learning and growing and that’s the most important characteristic of a pioneer—someone who has the courage to continue to fail and mess up and then learn and grow from that experience. I, too, am a pioneer—humanly failing forward.