How can we prepare practicing and aspiring education leaders for the complex, adaptive challenges they face? In Helping Educators Grow, Elear Drago-Severson presents a new approach to leadership development. Too often, she argues, we teach leadership development the same way we teach world history: just the facts. Instead, we need to create professional learning environments that invite educational leaders to experience the conditions that support adult growth, even as they are learning about them. The book takes as its starting point the premise that adult development is leadership development that is, the task of school leaders is to develop the capacities of adults as well as students. Drawing on the principles of constructive-developmental theory, Drago-Severson offers a framework for conceptualizing growth based on the core elements of care, respect, trust, collaboration, and intentionality. Richly informed by examples of effective, developmentally oriented learning experiences for aspiring and practicing leaders, the book includes application exercises and reflective questions to help readers engage with the ideas presented. Widely respected for her groundbreaking work in adult development, leadership, and capacity building in learning communities, Drago-Severson provides the tools and concepts to make any professional learning initiative a developmental opportunity for individuals and groups in a variety of contexts: university-based seminars, professional development workshops, professional learning communities, or peer-to-peer networks.
Eleanor Drago-Severson is an associate professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University.