Leadership that Defies the Status Quo in the AC-Stage of Education

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Michael Lubelfeld Ed.D. is the Superintendent of schools in the North Shore School District 112 in Highland Park, IL. Lubelfeld has presented on leadership topics around the state, nation, and world, and he is active in leadership development with state and national associations. He has led aspiring superintendent workshops in Illinois and across the nation.

Dr. Michael Conner

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening and welcome to another episode of Voices for Excellence. I’m your host, Dr. Michael Conner, CEO and Founder of the Agile Evolutionary Group and proud host of VFE. And today’s episode, a part of our Welcome back to School series. We have one of the best in the country. Yes, I know he’s putting his head down, but yes, he is. This is a we’re not worthy type, Wayne’s World type. The guest that we have today, he is one of the most tenured superintendents across the country. 14 years. Let me say this again to my audience. 14 years as a superintendent. Hats off to that. One of the most remarkable individuals within the field. He is the proud superintendent of Highland School District in Highland, Illinois, and it is my absolute honor. I’ve been following him ever since his wee days of AASA. We want to say that, Michael, but it is so good to have one of the thought leaders as a part of VFE, as a part of the Welcome Back Series. I would like to introduce everybody Dr. Michael Lubelfeld. Michael, my brother, it is so good to have you on VFE. How you doing, my friend?

Dr. Michael Lubelfeld

Oh, my goodness. Well, this is a huge honor, my friend. I am thrilled to be here. I’m humbled by your words and kindness. It is an absolute honor to be part of this podcast, being talking with you and be a part of the Welcome Back episode. I am thrilled. Absolutely thrilled. So, yeah, I’ve been looking forward to our conversation for a while.

Dr. Michael Conner

Absolutely. Michael, I can tell you this. I try to use this as a platform or a mechanism of professional learning for my audience and to have you on here just to kind of unwrap the anatomy of leadership through your lens. This is a treat, leading into the 2023-2024 academic year. But Michael, I always start out with a fun question. Before we get into the hard questions, right. So Dr. Lubelfeld, when leaders across the country, many leaders, including myself, listen to you, hear your key notes, whether it be your stakeholders in Highland or, you know, the excellence in equity agents… When they read your blogs or your books or just pure national speaking engagements, what song would they identify as your equity and leadership signature song within the ecosystem?

Dr. Michael Lubelfeld

Gosh, I love this question and I’m going to say Stand By Me by Betty King and I’m going to say this. There’s a ton of songs and there’s a ton of messages. I have had people stand by me throughout my career, and they’ve been my guardian angels, and I absolutely hope that I pay it forward and I stand by them and I hope that together, no matter what happens in thick and thin, in crisis and non crisis and happy and sad and everything in between, Stand By Me, Betty King.And I appreciate having the chance to tell you that.

Dr. Michael Conner

Absolutely, Dr. Lubelfeld, I’ll tell you this. Stand By Me. Not only does that epitomize where we’re at within the ecosystem, but it exactly shows how you provide not just state and local support to administrators within the verticals… Whether it be principals, Assistant principals, chiefs, deputy superintendents, But this is national, where Stand By Me absolutely describes how you are. You just got to just pick up the phone. Michael Lubelfeld will be there for you in 2 minutes. I’ll tell you that that is appropriate. But, Michael, I really want to just unwrap this important topic of leadership. But before we even get into that, you’re a nationally recognized superintendent where your reputation is having a deep acumen around education leadership, even the very threads of leadership in the context of education. Now, we will get to that domain. But I just want people what people might not know about you, Dr. Lubelfeld, is that you are a notorious blogger around leadership, around education and the important topics that need to be covered. And you also co-authored not one, not two, but three. Remember Kobe Bryant when he went up there? One, two, three, four, five. That’s like talking junk to you and you looking at me going, one, two, three. You co-authored three books. Now I want to focus this question on your most recent publication, Student Voice: From Invisible to Invaluable. Just the title alone is very provocative in context. Now, first, can you provide just a quick abstract of your book? But second, why is voice and agency… why are they essential to the acceleration of the education model, especially in the AC stage of education? How does this promote relevance in this time that we’re leading in right now?

Dr. Michael Lubelfeld

All right, my friend. So, you know, with P.J. Capozzi, Illinois Superintendent and Superintendent of the Year 2023 and one of the finalists for Final Four, an AASA, to those superintendents and friends here in Illinois. We were looking at the landscape of leadership and we were looking at the landscape of where we had pockets of success, where we had pockets where we could do better in our own work as a public school, superintendents and honest to goodness, it’s really, we came to the conclusion that it’s the power in the perspective of learners, and we’ve got a feature in the book that I’ll get to in a sec. It’s called Ask ‘Em, A-S-K apostrophe E-M. Yeah, and really the whole premise is simply ask your students questions. Yes, support them based upon those answers to those questions. Genuinely know them. Get into that relationship and you know, if your listeners are studying John Hattie’s meta analytic research there’s a 0.6 or 0.62 true hinge point with teacher/student relationships. So that K is really understand them and then empower the students, empower the students. That’s the… and then monitor what’s going on. So ask them. We basically believed and believe schools must transform. And then I brought the book out to… I’m going to read verbatim if it’s okay I figure we wanted to answer two central questions: Why should today’s school leaders engage student voice from a leadership perspective as collaborators, in leading students as collaborators? And how can today’s school leaders engage student voice from a leadership perspective as collaborators in leading? So we not only say why and then get an echo chamber of folks saying, My goodness, that’s great, let’s preach on, let’s keep talking. No, that’s cool. That’s only part of it. Then we talk about the how and what the three of us did as we talked about student voice and governance, service and character education, student voice and technology instruction, student voice in design of schools and in communication and student voice in equity and evaluation. So we’re touching some of the low hanging fruit, some quote unquote easy stuff and some high fruit that needs to be harvested and some tough stuff, too. So the book is really about how leaders like us, who are our systems leaders and work with amazing teachers and principals, how can we go side by side with the folks for whom our schools have been built, the students, and for the folks who have one experience in the third grade, the eighth grade, the 11th grade, we get a do over every year, Dr. Conner. We come back, they’re done with that year. So how do we help engage them, really inspire them and then collaborate with them. So I appreciate you asking about it. You know, a book is is something really special. It’s surreal. It’s weird, and it’s really liberating to get those thoughts and get the work of others and the voice of others into print. So I’m proud of of Nick and PJ. I’m proud of the folks who helped us write the vignette, some of them high school students, one of them a middle school student at the time, and I appreciate you asking. It’s it’s all about the students. I love teachers and support staff and administrators and I pledge my life to develop them and support them and respect them. I also know that we’re all here, especially in the public schools, for each child every day. And so I really stand… I stand by them like they stand by me. Going back to the other question.

Dr. Michael Conner

I love the connectivity right there, question inside question. But, Michael, what I love about this write in it just reminds me of when you say students as collaborators, right? And the three, I like to say three elements of governance, technology, education, design I apologize for. And equity. Yes. When you think about it from low hanging fruit, I like to say high yield, high impact to high yield, low impact. You touched upon that framework. But it just brings me back to Michael. When I was a part of the group that developed the Learning 2025 National Commission report. Right. And when you when when you talk about students as collaborators, it brings back that memory of where we were designing or developing the paper. And we put students as coauthors, right? Collaborators and coauthors. And there’s that interface synergy between the two governance, technology instruction, design and equity. I want to touch upon one in specific. When we talk about students as collaborators, this is a kind of like a sub very question, right? Is the governance structure right? You and I know all too well about governance policies. Board of Education is the implementations of policy implementation of policy, right? And if we truly want to enact or elicit the elicit the voice of students, we need to have students a part of the policy development and creation at that committee level. Michael, you’ve done that. I mean, to a T, miraculously, just amazingly done implement a fidelity. You have student voice that is incorporated into policies. How were you able to leverage that? What does that look like specifically in context? Because we know that Generation Z, Generation Alpha, they want to have a voice in everything. And that’s what’s great about it is they’re going to change the world. But for that governance structure, that’s still an outlier, an anomaly. You’re one of the anomalies, Dr. Lubelfeld, but how did you get students involved in policy development? And for my leaders for this Welcome back series, how does that look like or what does that look like? I apologize.

Dr. Michael Lubelfeld

No, I’m so glad you’re asking. So basically, literally and legitimately getting them at the table. So articulating, for example, in the school district, we have a modern learning committee. It was far more active prior to the pandemic and we’re going to get it back going after what this group did. It was made up of students grades three through eight, chosen by teachers and principals in their own interest and parent consent. We had parents, we had teachers, we had administrators, both building and district, and we had a board member. And this modern learning committee actually set out initially to talk about instructional technology. We really set out prior to the pandemic to talk about are we meeting our own needs? Like do the students understand we’re trying to do, do the teachers know, are we like, does anyone have anything to say? And it really morphed into the portrait of a learner, the portrait of a graduate, because it was more about students asking questions of the teachers, Why? Like, why are we doing this? Why are we learning that versus about technology? And it was the parents kind of stepping aside saying, that’s a really big question and the teacher saying these are great questions. Wait, can we shift the focus? And the administrator saying, oh my God, this is incredible. What are we doing? And the board member saying, tell me more. And what these with the students did at this modern learning community is they unintentionally but really in a cool, elegant way, changed the purpose of a committee that we thought was going to be instructional technology. It turned out to be our entire aspirational vision for what we want to do for students pre-K-8 here in the district in North Shore. And I would… and that Board of Education, I was able to hear a presentation and a video was narrated by one of the students on the committee. So it was actually her voice on behalf of her colleagues. And we had other students talking about their experiences in their why. So they’re brought to the table of a committee. You’ve got a structure to process with other adults and parents involved too, their parents are welcome as well. You then produce something, whatever we thought the object is or something, we pivoted because we were open minded, as one of the portraits. We then created our own framework for this portrait of a learner, portrait of a graduate. And we recorded the video, went to a board presentation, put the students in front of the board of Education, and then the board adopted this. The board adopted the portrait of a graduate. It is our portrait of a graduate board adopted. And now we communicate it. And now ideally, we can share it. And ideally we could actually measure our performance or the initiative based upon are we doing this and is it aligned to the portrait of a graduate? We have a big three here, Mike. The portrait of a graduate, closing opportunity gaps among children, and facilities upgrades. Well, that portrait of a graduate that was shifted because a student voice choice and now that’s one way to do it, yeah there’s other things, but I’ll leave it at that. That’s a concrete answer for you.

Dr. Michael Conner

And Dr. Lubelfeld, if you do it, I tell you, you’re one of the best in the field, man. I mean, just like that policy. I like to say how I see disruption in a positive context, because now we’re incorporating who are most important customers, which is our students and our families. And I love how you referenced John Hatties work, because I always reference John Hatties work in here because that a meta analysis is so important. I try to emulate this as direct instruction in a asynchronous manner, that has 0.6 effect size of it. I try to correlate student learning and adult learning, brother. All right. I’m with you, I’m with you. I tell you Mike, I need more time with you, brother. But this next question right, there’s this kind of dream of being an executive leader, as, you know, being 14 years in. Whether it be a superintendent, central office administrator, site based instructional leader. I always like to change the vernacular where principals are not just principals, they’re truly instructional leaders, leading the the lead instruction, the lead instructor of his or her building. But it has become insidious and arduous, an arduous and insidious time in education right now. And, Michael, many current and former superintendents… We see what’s happening. Right? And most of them, when I talk to them, they forecast that we will not see a change in education or the education space within the next 5 to 10 years. So this immense polarization, this politicization of education, they’re forecasting 5 to 10 years out. But Mike, I want to hear from you. And based on your work at AASA, you work with national superintendents across the country and just understanding the constraints of being a superintendent and site based instructional leader. Where do you see or when do you see the ecosystem change and do you see it within the next 3 to 5 years? Where do you see this happening? And specifically for equity and excellence, where do these leaders, how are they going to make this type of systematic change with regard to their teaching and learning organizations and not paint, I like to say paint because they’re making systemic changes for Generation Z and Generation Alpha.

Dr. Michael Lubelfeld

Oh, my gosh, I love this question. You know, we can talk about this for like the rest of our life. This is a tough one to be concise. I’m going to try to. So the first thing is and I’m going to give a tip of the hat and a shout out to the superintendent in Los Angeles Unified School District, second largest school district in the nation. And our good friend Alberto is a courageous leader who is saying it as it needs to be said. And he is getting that message out, basically saying, look, I’m going to lead for each child every day. And if you’re politically opposed to the concept of leadership and equitable access, then step aside, because I’m not going to bow down. So I look to him as a real role model. So I’m going to just kind of start my commentary like that. Those of us who’ve been in the business, who’ve endured, who’ve hopefully thrived and more than survived and have had tremendous relationships with school boards. And that’s critical here. School boards and especially public schools and locally elected boards, really working together to embrace the community and educate the community and ideally communicate with the community that what we’re doing is the right thing, not only for our local community in a parochial view, but also for for the world, for society. Locally, we have to fight against exclusionary practices that take a particular subject or a particular piece of content or a particular advanced placement test, for example, and exclude that because some people are uncomfortable with it, don’t understand it, or are afraid of it. We critically must keep fighting forward and treat everybody with dignity and honor, yet never compromise your core values. So I do see a change, but I don’t see it probably until after the next national election. And I’m not getting partizan, I don’t want to upset your listeners or whatever. And I’m a public school educator. I respect everybody. What I’m saying, though, is when the national dialog is divisive, the national dialog creates fences and barriers and puts people on different sides. That is trickling down into the states, into the counties, into the communities. And it’s really affecting our colleagues. And what’s happening for some of our colleagues are trying to fight against it and they’re losing their jobs. Some of our colleagues are not fighting against it. They’re losing themselves.

Dr. Michael Conner

Yeah, well, Michael, can you say that one more time?

Dr. Michael Lubelfeld

So some of our colleagues are fighting against divisiveness and they’re losing their jobs. Some are not fighting against it, and they’re losing themselves. We’ve got to be there to support. And we being you, me, the professional associations, those of us who are friends of education, those of us who are working in it. And when you’ve got a situation where somebody is up against a real political hatred and misery, we’ve got to band together professionally and help support them somehow so they can get their school boards back supporting with them and their communities can understand that we are absolutely agents of good hope and agents of love. We are not the enemy for anybody. We’re not trying to ruin any child ever. We’re not trying to hurt our community. What we’re trying to do is create critical thinkers. We’re trying to create citizens with open minds to other perspectives, and we’re trying to create courageous people with with curiosity. And it is reading, writing and arithmetic. It also is the sciences. It is the history, geography, it is technology. It’s also cultural literacy and sociology. And we’ve got to be the champions for each child. We’re not here to create broken adults. We’re here to help children grow up to be whole adults. So absolutely, you know, 3 to 5 years is going to be critical for us, man. We’ve got to… we’ve got to support one another because some of our friends are in really rough places. We’ve got to help them.

Dr. Michael Conner

Absolutely. And Michael, we’ve been seeing it across the country happen to some of the best superintendents, some of the people and individuals that I look up to, just like me looking up to your work, Michael. For the longest time, when I was a superintendent, some of the individuals that had that level of impact, strategic influence, just the politics and the polarization of education right now. I love what you said, right? Fighting forward agents of good, agents of hope, and agents of love. And I think that when we enter the space, right, that’s our 10th rate agent. Being an agent of good, being an agent of hope and being an agent of love. But, you know, the the continuous political minefields, I like to say it’s just becoming so insidious, even to a level what I call malfeasance, that it seems like executive leaders and superintendents can’t do the job that they want to do. Right. But obviously, Michael, your work and your voice is going to be huge moving forward with this and to be able to change this political landscape And just to move on to the next question, Michael, Dr. Lubelfeld Now I’m going to say it like this, Doctor Lubelfeld, about 40 years, I want to be I want to be like Mike.

Dr. Michael Lubelfeld

I love it, me too.

Dr. Michael Conner

Be like Mike. Over 14 years, one of the longest tenured superintendents in this country. When we say about 14 years, you know, we’re like, wow, you know what is, what is Dr. Lubelfeld doing out there in Illinois? And now the 2023-2024 academic year for all of us pretty much started. We’re either a month in or we’re just a week or two. And so now, as you are one of the longest tenured superintendents in our country, right, you defy the traditional, I want to say, just the traditional practices right up the status quo, because 14 years, you got to be doing something impactful to be in it that long. Right. And we know and we just be talking about it, you know change agents, whether it be change makers, equity agents, they don’t last long because of these traditional practices. So now my next question is kind of like a variant sub variant to the question that I asked before. How do you last? How? Like you gave a great example, right? But again, how do you last in this environment?

Dr. Michael Lubelfeld

Well, part of it is with school board relations. I have been blessed with school boards in three different communities that have been superior. And there’s been a you know, there’s been elections here. We have elections every two years. So there’s been different members of these boards, not the same people. They have been superior to a person, the ones who agreed with me, of course, they’re great, you know, joking. The ones who didn’t agree with me have made me stronger and clearer and more articulate, more coherent. So I appreciate both sides. I’ve been able to be a leader who’s helped build coherence around the mission vision, value goals, so mission, vision, value goals, and then making sure everybody understands, no matter what we’re doing, whether we’re building a school, whether we’re adopting a reading program, or whether we’re figuring out a social emotional program, we must always have the foundation of equitable access or educational excellence for each child every day, equitable access for educational excellence for each child every day. So there’s there’s a foundation there. The members of the school boards that I’ve served and the members of the school board I currently serve have had a respect, admiration and understanding of coherence. They don’t always agree with me. Of course not. They don’t always understand the whole story or what I’m looking at or seeing around the corners. They ask challenging questions and I respond, I don’t know when. I don’t know. Yeah, I respond. I don’t know when, I don’t know. And while I’m very proud and I’ve got a sense of confidence and I love to present, I’ve got a little charisma, I do have the humility to understand. I need to phone a friend that I’ve had board members and boards that have allowed me to reach out to experts in the field when we’ve been faced with some adversity. We were faced with a world wide global pandemic. They allowed me to reach out to a strategic partner, a consulting group that helps people problem solve. We’ve had unspeakable tragedy, you know, like so many leaders in the country of a mass shooting in a community like last year and even recently, like so many of us are plagued with. And I’ve reached out to professionals in that space to allow me to support the folks I reach out to our labor union leaders and say, Help, let’s talk it through. Even if we don’t agree, it’s okay. It’s okay. You can have an adversarial relationship without being adversaries. So we’re not enemies. We’re not adversaries. The relationship is structured to be adversarial. There’s different points of view. That’s not a emotional reality. Subjective. So I’ve had great board members. I’ve had leaders at the union level, at the teacher level, at the principal level, who’ve helped build those coherent structures. And no matter what, no matter what, it’s equitable access for educational excellence for each child, every day we’re planting those seeds. The next thing is we’ve we’ve been able to get through it. I’ve had petitions, I’ve had complaints, I’ve had people saying bad things about me. I’ve had me in Facebook things and got my wife kicked out of a moms group. You know, it’s all happened to me. It’s happened all right. But you know what? It’s the core values, great people around me. And also like Sean, a core is positive psychology. I do try to look for the good and I see it most often. That’s how.

Dr. Michael Conner

Michael. Great, great, great response. Great answer. I think one of the critical themes for you, actually two from your response or your answer is board superintendent relationships are critical. The alignment, the coherence, aspect of mission, vision, values and goals and empowering in that level of board superintendent relationship, governance coherence is essential. But I love what you said every day, right? For our kids, every single day. And I get that that mega theme is that you love the kids a little bit more than the adults. And it’s okay. I’m not trying to say it in a negative way. Right. But we always continue to ground and root our practices, our systems, the lenses around the essential pillar of why. And Michael, thank you for this. Obviously, you can see I’m a huge fan of your work. So, Michael, keep leading and I’m learning from your brother. But I want to, I want my audience to unwrap this right. Now, this is getting down to where your core prowess about education, leadership, your analogical and your education acumen around leadership is something that my audience really, really needs to unwrap. So in your own words, I want you to define education leadership for equity excellence and innovation in the AC stage of education. And how do you strategically leverage these three elements in the complex domain of educational leadership that is rooted by design and traditionalism and just realism?

Dr. Michael Lubelfeld

I love this question and it is so challenging and so awesome. So many of us succeeded in the factory model of education that came out in the mid 1800s and came across the United States to really provide a neat background for whatever era of history that our country had going into Industrial Revolution. We got the factory model, you’ve got the Progressive Era and you’ve got some really neat studies. You’ve got that committee of ten that we still can’t shake. But they did a good job in the last year with the high school in the Carnegie Unit. All of a sudden we left those two centuries. Right. And now we’re thinking, well, we’ve got one of these in our pocket that’s got more power than the stuff that sent people to the moon. So, we’re going kind of fast right now, too fast, I think, for us to handle it. But the bottom line is we’ve got public school education in the greatest country in the world that’s provided opportunity for people all over the world. I’m a second generation American. My grandparents fled the old country and oppression and came here and did great stuff and then suffered the Great Depression, then did great stuff, then went to war, still did great stuff. So you get my point. Everyone’s got that lens. We all have degrees of adversity that have occurred. It is though, 2023 and we’ve got this exponential technology and you and me are connected wherever we are. I could be in Australia, you could be in Singapore. We’re together right now. Subjugation has to respond. We’ve not notoriously responded quickly enough. And I’m going to share with you I’ve had the privilege of working on a number of projects and one of them is with the Illinois Principals Association, which supports growth of principals. And when when you talk about innovation, they’ve got a host of micro credential courses, just cool things. Talk about innovation and you talk about how do you do it? I’m going to read an outcome from one of their courses here, provide a plan with strategies, implementation, timelines, evaluation and a monitoring process to establish best practice in creating and sustaining innovation for organizational improvement. I mean, unpack it so you provide a plan. You gather some stakeholders, you’ve got a vision, and even if it’s just you and one friend, you’ve got a plan, you get some strategies. All right, Mike, we’re going to do three things. There’s implementation timelines. We’re going to do this in three months to see if we’ve done something. There’s evaluation. We succeeded or we didn’t. There’s a monitoring process. We’re going to set ourselves up so we can be held accountable. Then we have a process to establish best practice. And what I want to pause here, one of the reasons many of our well-intended colleagues and one of the reasons one of our well-intended reform movements fail is because they follow what they think is the only practice or the practice they know. They don’t understand. They’ve got the freedom to establish a best practice, you and me can, by experimentation, create a new practice, then try to put it in, monitor it, make it better, we can reiterate. And then in creating and sustaining innovation for organizational improvement, you’ve got to get rid of tardy. “That’s the way we’ve always done it” is killing innovation in our world. All right. We’ve got to get rid of “I need to see an example of how that works.” Guess what, buddy? There’s no example of how it works because I just made it up. You’ve got to create an environment where people can fall and get back up. So part of it is part of it is innovation is stepping aside and being side by side and getting rid of your title and just leading together. Excellence is every child is a winner. Every child has a mom and dad somewhere who love them, whether they live with them or not, whether they know them or not, whether they’ve been raised by them or with them or not. We each were born biologic only. Okay, let’s just kind of go to that course. Someone loves us and believes in us. We have skills and assets. It is my job to deliver an educator from the Bronx back in the eighties and nineties. She would say each child is gifted and it’s my responsibility basically to create the conditions where those gifts shine. And I love Kate Toliver because she fought and she did that. And educational leadership means sometimes I’m doing stuff and you don’t like it, and sometimes you do stuff and I’m going to upset you. And sometimes you say no. And I say, Please give me a shot and I’m going to try it. But I’m not accepting your no as a stop sign. I’m accepting your no as I’m acknowledging you and respecting you. Yet I’m having a different reality and I’m going to try. Leadership is not always making friends. Leadership, though, is setting your mission, vision, value and goals and executing. So it’s hard, as you know that. But that’s my answer.

Dr. Michael Conner

I tell you. Michael Great, great answer. And to my audience, please, this is a question we want to reference back to Hatties work. This is where you want to rewind this stuff up, play it again, break it down, because the alignment of that equity excellence and innovation spread within the broader domain of education and leadership. Michael unwrapped that in totality in a very simplistic form for us to leave with some hard hands on strategies. Now, what Michael describe sympathetically to my audience sympathetically outlines the process improvement work of plan strategies, implementation, timeline, evaluation and monitoring process. I’ll tell you this, Michael, I would have probably explained it in this really complex, dense way. That’s why people would be like, Mike, what are you talking about? But when Dr. Lubelfeld comes on, he goes, plan of strategies, implement patient timeline evaluation, monitoring process that compares with mission, vision, values and goals. You’re like, Oh, is that what Michael Conner was trying to say? I love your brother. Thank you for that. And again, to my audience, please rewind that question back and rewind Dr. Lubelfeld’s answer because you can’t contextualize it perfectly like that. And Mike, last question, good brother. Now, there’s a lot of people that break the rules on this question right? And I tried to structure and frame it to three words. But, you know, I’ve seen variations and I mean some new variations three times, 33 times 333. But Dr. Lubelfeld, I’m going to leave it to you. Answer any way you want now, but what three words? What three words do you want today’s audience to leave our episode to address organizational culture and instructional pedagogy that reaches or in the AC stage of education? What three words should always be rooted in our practices to create an education demand that reaches Generation Z and Generation Alpha?

Dr. Michael Lubelfeld

Okay, so I’m going to I’m going to cheat a little bit right in a superintendent first, break all the rules. So here in North Shore’s school District 112, in Highland Park in Illinois, we have a model and our hashtag is 112 leads. Everyone’s a leader. And if you’re not a leader now, you’re going to become one. And if you’re… we have three words and they are inspire, innovate, engage. And you’ve got culture, you’ve got instruction, and you’ve got growth in that inspire, innovate and engage. And it also challenges us as the leaders and the educators to do something actively. I have the obligation to inspire the students. I have the obligation to inspire the teachers. I have the obligation to create conditions that inspire the community. I need to innovate. Because the world is changing faster than my brain can handle it. Technology is changing faster than society can handle it, doing it. Socio political views and values are changing faster than we probably should be, you know, handling that. And the news is unfiltered. So I need innovate and get people to chill out, breathe and think. And I need to engage you because I care. Now, that’s district 112 inspire, innovate, engage. The Mike Lubelfeld answer for you today, Dr. Conner, is invite, embrace and respect. Invite, I have the obligation to create the conditions whereby I and everybody with me invites others to the table, invites others to the space, invites others to have the opportunity to have a sense of belonging and value and to embrace whether it’s metaphorical, whether it’s physical, whether it’s all of the above. We must embrace one another again and get back to our humanity. For goodness sake, there is such hatred in our world that is really disturbing to me as a human being and also as a father, as a husband, as an educator, as a superintendent. We need to embrace one another again and say, look at we have differences. Let’s embrace those. We have similarities, let’s embrace those. We have viewpoints, let’s embrace those, and then respect. Respect our rights to differ, respects our rights to agree, respect the fact that the world is really neat and made up of a lot of different pieces, places, things and people. And let’s just get to a place of respect, away from the place where a lot of people are right now. So inspire, innovate, engage and invite, embrace, and respect. Thank you, man. Dr. Conner, you are the best. This is really fun. Thank you.

Dr. Michael Conner

Michael, thank you. And to my audience, you got three times two. I think we got from Dr. Lubelfeld, inspire, innovate and engage, that’s 112. But when we talk about Dr. Lubelfeld and I’m sorry, inspire, innovate and engage and then Dr. Lubelfeld invite, embrace and respect. I tell you, this is a back to school treat for my audience today. And I knew that, you know, when I said I was going to get Dr. Lubelfeld on, I said, No, I got to get him back for Welcome Back series because you know what? We need to be inspired. September, you know, some of us or some states, you know, already started in August. But for September just to get everybody inspired, this episode is a treat for them. Dr. Michael Lubelfeld, thank you so, so, so much. Now, if my audience members, because they tend to reach out and continue to ask questions, how would they be able to get in contact with you?

Dr. Michael Lubelfeld

All right. So I am not shy. I’m on Twitter @MikeLubelfeld, M-I-K-E-L-U-B-E-L-F-E-L-D. I’m on LinkedIn, just my name, Michael Lubelfeld. I have a blog on Edu blog. So mikelubelfeld.edublogs.org. So by all means reach out also www.nssd112.org. So there you go. I’m out there man. If people have any questions, I’d love to hear them. I’m honored to be on the podcast to be part of your program. Thank you so much.

Dr. Michael Conner

Thank you so much, Dr. Lubelfeld, you made it through. And to my audience, please reach out to Michael, because he is one of those superintendents, he’s one of those national leaders that if you email him, contact him, DM him through the multiple social media platforms, guess what? He’s going to write you back and is going to be quick too. So I love it again, my brother. Thank you. I can’t wait. I got to get in touch with you. We will continue and talk conversation. I’m sure we’ll see each other in the national circuit. But Dr. Lubelfeld, I appreciate you. And on that note, onward and upward, everybody. Have a great evening.