Cultivating a Culture of Courageous Leadership with Pat Deklotz

Pat Deklots, Superintendent of Kettle Moraine School District in Wales, WI has been leading the same school district for twelve years. She lead a session at the Minnesota Personalized Learning Summit #mnpls17 on Cultivating a Culture of Courageous Leadership. Kettle Moraine has been focusing on providing personalized opportunities for their students and Pat shared some key elements that have helped their school system improve at a district level. 

“All too often, on the long road up, young leaders become servants of what is rather than shapers of what might be.” - John Gardner, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) under President Lyndon Johnson.

Courageous leadership questions to ask yourself:  Why is this work important to you? 
How do you practice reflection? 
Who do you listen to and how do you seek them out? 

Open Door Policy: Her experiences were that people would only come to you when they had a problem during open door time in an office. Go out and talk with people instead. Go to classrooms. Go to community events. Go talk with teachers and you will be able to push your organization forward. 

Systemic initiatives will last longer than one powerful leader. Systemic change focuses on 
Processes, Structures, Expectations such as: 
  • Distributed leadership
  • Scorecards and benchmarking 
  • 100 day plans / Monitoring 
  • Standards of Service Excellence 
    • What does it mean to be an excellent employee? Learner? Leader? 
  • Performance conversations 
  • Rounding; 30/90 Day Check In 
  • Surveys and Results roll out
Pat's advice is for leaders to ask two basic questions: 
Why Not? 

Commitment to Innovation 
Develop a culture that allows teachers, students and leaders to take risks. You should tell stories about how you are experiencing risk and learning from those stories. Is is one example from Kettle Moraine students and Digital Promise of a story they are telling others about their schools. 

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