Category: Dr. Jarvis Sanford Chicago

Educational Leadership in Action

dr jarvis sanford of chicago

MacKenzie Scott is a gift who keeps on giving.

The philanthropist and former wife of Amazon head Jeff Bezos is making more than good on her promise to give back.

The Institute for Educational Leadership recently announced a $6 million unrestricted gift from Scott and plans to use the donation to build its advocacy and disability inclusion work and leadership development.

Dr. Jarvis Sanford of Chicago notes that it’s a significant donation, but a mere fraction of what Scott has given to an array of social justice organizations and other good causes. The $6 million is part of a larger $3 billion gift from Scott that has been doled out to 465 nonprofits across the country. Scott has an estimated net worth of $49 billion.

Scott wrote in a recent post on Medium that her giving is focused on the needs of underrepresented people from a wide variety of groups. Scott’s gift is the largest private donation in IEL history, and the organization calls it critical for community care that is holistic and inclusive.

Schools Turn to ‘Habits of Highly Effective People’

Education Week reports that 5,000 schools across the country are working to reinforce skills in both adults and students through Leader in Me, a program based on the seminal book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen Covey.

Leader in Me offers extensive training, especially through teacher and principal executive coaching that emphasizes the importance of culture, leadership, and academics in both public and private schools. Each grade level is covered in the training, which uses 38 lessons, each about 30 minutes long.

Lessons include educational leadership focused on teamwork, effective listening, and proper conflict resolution. 

COVID Consequence: Spending Up in Early Childhood Education

Last year saw a dramatic increase in early childhood education spending following the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty regarding the availability of educational resources.

Sanford reports that such spending rose by over a half-billion dollars by late summer 2021 and is likely closer to $1 billion in the first half of 2022. Early education nonprofits say an unexpected consequence of the pandemic was the development of more alternative education approaches. New technology has helped caregivers find available childcare and resources throughout the pandemic and showcased new educational leadership initiatives and ideas, many fueled by an influx of investor dollars.

dr jarvis sanford of chicago

Teachers Fight Against Florida ‘Parental Rights’ bill 

Teachers in Florida and around the country are speaking out against the state’s newly passed “Parental Rights in Education” bill, according to CBS News.

Among the most vocal are LGBTQ teachers worried about the impact of the legislation on those they teach.

The bill, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by opponents, prohibits instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation for students in kindergarten up to third grade. 

An open letter written by Willie Carver, Kentucky’s most recent Teacher of the Year, condemning the bill included signatures from teachers in all 50 states and U.S. territories Carver is also gay and said that he did not feel supported or protected when he was in school.

The bill’s sentiment isn’t unique to Florida. According to PEN America, there are about two dozen state legislatures across America introducing similar bills that prevent discussions of gender, race, sexuality, and racism in the classroom.

News in Educational Leadership

dr jarvis sanford chicago

A hallmark of educational leadership is engagement. It’s thoughtful, timely discussions. It’s action.

Educators across America are coping with the Russian invasion of Ukraine in and out of the classroom with students. At American colleges, where thousands of students are from Ukraine and Russia, educational leaders are making statements and holding teach-ins and vigils.

Dr. Jarvis Sanford of Chicago notes that a Fulbright program in both Ukraine and Russia is run by the United States to support research work, and the country also supports a teaching assistant award for Russian and Ukrainian citizens.

One of the Fulbright program’s objectives is to foster cultural dialogue and mutual understanding.

Such educational programs will likely carry on, as will open and honest discussions led by United States educational leaders in elementary schools all the way up to university campuses, as the invasion continues to have consequences around the world, according to

For the estimated 1,739 students from Ukraine and 4,805 students from Russia in the United States, American educational leadership will be powerful for the unforeseen future.

SHU Awards First Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership

It’s a big first for Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.

The college has awarded its first-ever doctoral degree in educational leadership to Marissa J. White from the Isabelle Farrington College of Education ; Human Development.

White’s dissertation focused on ways to support teachers of color, and she will be the first Black student to receive an Ed.D. from the college at spring commencement.

SHU’s educational leadership program is guided by a holistic approach to education, developing emotional, social, and academic leadership skills.

White, whose dissertation discusses the high number of teachers of color deciding to leave the education profession, is a pre-K through 5th grade assistant principal. SHU Vice Provost and Dean of Farrington College Michael Alfano said that White’s accomplishment set the bar very high for those who will follow her.

dr jarvis sanford chicago

Tenn. Governor Announces K-12 Education Funding Proposal 

A base of $6.6 billion in per-pupil funding is the centerpiece of Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s new proposal to bolster K-12 education funding in the state. 

The figure will help educate about 1 million public school students in the state and includes $1.8 billion in funds for students requiring extra help.

Also part of Lee’s plan: $376 million to improve literacy and strengthen technical education, as well as $100 million set aside to reward schools where students offer success in readiness for college and careers. 

If the plan is approved by the state legislature, Tennessee will be one of 39 students to function with a student-based funding model. The state ranks 44th nationally in education funding. 

Study: Field Trips May Lead to Better Class Performance 

Research from Brigham Young University backs an educational leadership approach that sees substantial benefits from field trips.

The study finds that students in fourth or fifth grade who attended three field trips scored higher on end-of-year exams, were absent less often, notched fewer behavioral punishments, and earned higher course grades than students who did not.

The strongest benefits were seen in students entering middle school. Don’t forget to get those permission slips signed.


How To Rebound From Failure While In A Leadership Position

dr. jarvis sanford

Educational leadership can feel like a lonely island- even more so when you’re facing failure. This can come in many forms since highly public figures are often the target of misplaced (or well placed) frustration. As a result, it can be difficult to bounce back from failures and criticism in these roles.

Speaker Denis Waitley said, “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”

As a leader in education, Dr. Jarvis Sanford offers some of his best guidance when it comes to rebounding from failure in a leadership position.

Failing to Achieve Long Term Goals for your Organization

So much goes into establishing long term goals, including pouring over testing results and items that you may have even campaigned on while on the road to the position you now hold. When our organization fails to meet these goals we set out to accomplish, it’s hard not to internalize these failures, as there are many moving pieces that make or break your success.

When it’s time to pick up the pieces and move forward, take time to assess the progress your organization has made in pursuit of its goals. Many times, your team’s concentrated efforts have improved certain metrics like testing scores or improved feedback from teachers, parents, and students. Even though the improvement may not reach the benchmarks you set out to hit, any and all improvement should be celebrated. John Maxwell describes this as “falling forward.”

We should also remember that it can often take a longer period of time with small corrections to right the path of a ship. Sometimes, even with just a bit more time on the correct trajectory, you’ll be able to meet or exceed the goals you’ve set for your team, just not in your original timeframe.

Pressure from Outside Agitators

As leaders, we are often easy targets for criticism. Because we are seen as figureheads and mouthpieces of our districts, we more often than not take heat from individuals both inside and outside of our organizations for things that we usually do not directly control. If a student or staff member sets a foot out of line in the community or within our walls, we are more than likely going to receive feedback as a responsible party. Similarly, advocates for different groups inject themselves, and often rightfully so, into district business in an effort to improve our operations.

Receiving pressure from outside influences can be an uncomfortable experience at best and unwelcome distraction at worst. Combatting or cooperating with these parties can feel like a sacrifice in terms of our district’s goals; however, to relieve the pressure and make peace with the turbulence outside agitators create, seek first to understand.

What changes are these parties trying to create? Does it align with the values of our organization? Do their concerns have merit? You may be surprised that some voices simply wish to be heard and considered in the decision making process, without any immediate action taking place. You can likely relieve these voices and your surging inbox by listening and empathizing with the parties behind them.

You’ll likely be more compassionate towards these causes and become a better leader for your district’s constituency. Accepting and responding to outside feedback is difficult to do, especially in a public forum. It’s important to compartmentalize district operations apart from personal ego to rebound quickly as a leader. You’ll also be able to provide a much more subjective response to the challenges you face.

Inability to Build a Cohesive Team

Any great leader will attribute their success to the team they’ve built behind them. What happens when you haven’t been able to build a cohesive team to move the organization ahead? Bringing the right individuals into the right positions can greatly accelerate results; however, sourcing those team members and retaining those team members can prove challenging in today’s marketplace. We can examine the issue of team building from two different angles: looking within our walls or looking outside of the organization.

When we look at our existing roster, we may, in fact, already have the right “players” on our team. Lack of cohesion is usually driven by two factors: communication and consistency. It is up to us to determine how to impact either of these factors to achieve the results we are looking for. This may take one-on-ones prior to opening up discussions, and many times we need to look within ourselves to ask if we are truly delivering on the expectations and resources our team members need to do their jobs. It’s been found that the performance and relationship with superiors is key when evaluating job satisfaction, which would directly impact how well a team functions together.

When looking outside of the organization for talent, we may fall short when we don’t make staffing of key positions a priority. Leaving roles vacant or having them staffed by the wrong individuals will lead to important work filtering down to under qualified staff members.

In either case, understand that staffing and team building are actionable items that you as a leader can address. This can be done either by developing your existing staff or by bringing in experienced team members who successfully collaborate with your organization on shared goals.

Pushback from Staff, Parents, and Students on Your Strategic Vision

Pushback from existing staff, parents, and students goes hand in hand with building a cohesive team. Education can prove to be a very personal endeavor, and when policy is put in place, it may cause friction in individual circumstances.

Short sighted players may fail to see the merits of your overall strategic vision. The short term hurdles may include extra work on the front end of a project or simply taking individuals out of their comfort zone when rolling out a new program.

One of the most painful failures may be to see stakeholders fight among themselves on policy and actions designed to help all involved parties. While all families may benefit from district initiatives, some parties seek to undo the greater good when they see a peer receiving “a bigger piece of the pie.”

Take time to meet with those that are experiencing friction to discuss their concerns and pain points. From there, you can hopefully explain the greater goal to achieve buy-in or incorporate their point of view. Another tactic is to approach a known ally who may better present the data in such a way that may appeal to an opponent.

Provided that aspects of your vision are well researched and implemented compassionately, be assured that every great plan will receive opposition. As leaders, we will never be without our critics.

Failure to Get Your Budget Passed

All or part of a budget not being approved can be frustrating at best. Sometimes the budget details may be items that we spoke on while being interviewed for a position or the very priorities that we campaigned upon. It’s as if the rug has been pulled from under you by the same people that helped put you in your position.

Rather than accepting defeat, challenge your new budget by doing as much as you can with what you have at your disposal. You’ve been selected for your position due to the trust in your experience and knowledge of how to provide the best education for your students. Now it’s a matter of constructing the new and more efficient puzzle from your newly appointed resources.

Failed Relationship with Superiors

When we fail to deliver on expectations of our superiors, we can be left feeling deflated. Or sometimes, we deliver as promised and still receive rejection from those that are tasked with guiding our careers or helping develop us professionally. In either case, not receiving acceptance from our superiors can leave us asking “What did I do? Where did I go wrong? Why don’t they have my back?”

As a professional, the best approach is to ask for direct feedback, analyze your own performance, and then look to improve upon any areas where you may have fallen short. Aside from that, continue to provide an unending source of value in any way that you can in your role, both to your superiors and to those you serve. Some individuals, regardless of the results they receive, may never be satisfied. In any case, it’s always preferable to over deliver, especially to a colleague to whom you’re accountable.

Parting Thoughts on Facing Failure as an Educational Leader

When we reflect upon Mr. Waitley’s quote from earlier, we see that the only way to avoid failure is to avoid seeking to move the needle in our endeavors in the first place, which is not in your nature as a leader. Failure can and will lead you to a better solution.

Understand you’ll never avoid failure and rejection completely. Things like ego, dignity, and embarrassment are all individual reactions and not indicative of the organization as a whole. In a way, it’s hard to not take it personally, but it may be easier to move forward on a new plan of action and data gathering when you look at your organization as a machine that must continue to progress. Ultimately, the goal of providing the best education for your district is the most important endeavor, much more than the exact circumstances that achieve it.

I’d love to know in the comments below, what are some of your best practices when it comes to overcoming failure and difficulty in your position? As always, you can also contact me directly to continue the conversation.