Leadership Exchange
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Leading Beyond Your Comfort Zone: Becoming Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

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Explore and create : Creation lab

Amy Linkel  
Brett Miller  
Leslie Rennie  

Learn from multiple perspectives in a small group setting. Through an educator’s and an administrator’s lens, we will explore how modeling technology and expectations impacts all learners, from administration to students. Takeaways will provide the desire to explore and implement options.

Audience: Principals/head teachers, Teachers, Coaches
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Access to the web.
Topic: Leadership
Grade level: PK-5
ISTE Standards: For Education Leaders:
Empowering Leader
  • Empower educators to exercise professional agency, build teacher leadership skills and pursue personalized professional learning.
  • Inspire a culture of innovation and collaboration that allows the time and space to explore and experiment with digital tools.
Visionary Planner
  • Share lessons learned, best practices, challenges and the impact of learning with technology with other education leaders who want to learn from this work.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Purpose: To empower educators to build leadership skills by going beyond their comfort zone and utilizing technology to create a transparent and authentic culture.

Identify strategies that will challenge educators to go outside their comfort zones to advocate for student success.
Engage and explore with digital tools that will empower educators to be authentic and transparent. Sample tools include: Swivl, Screencastify/Loom, GSuite (docs, drive, slides, sites, etc.).
Collaborate with others in an authentic and purposeful way, both with and without technology, such as Jamboard


5 minutes: Welcome and Introductions
Share the reasons for learning, give learners an opportunity to make meaning of what they’ll do and how this session might help them.

5 minutes: Getting to know you Icebreaker
Turn and Talk: Ask participants to identify a challenge they are facing as a leader that today’s session might address. Ask them to share with their tables and post digitally.

30 minutes: Getting to know ourselves as leaders
Engage participants in naming their individual challenges and areas for growth.
Share examples/stories from personal experience
What Motivates Me When I Speak? Group Activity
Ask participants to inquire into their motivations for being a leader in their current positions
Pose 2 questions:
What’s my intention in saying this?
What emotions are below what I’m about to say?
Ask participants to identify their core values
Read through list of values and find 10 that they feel are most important to them
Narrow list down to 5
Narrow list down to 3 to identify their core values
Reflect with table group:
What does your core values mean to you?
How do your actions as a leader reflect your core values?
Share a time when you acted on your core values
Share top value digitally with a tool such as mentimeter

30 Minutes: Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
Share experiences/examples of getting outside of comfort zone
Staff meetings
Leading tough conversations
Engaging with community
Group Activity: Grit Zone Charts
Using chart paper and sticky notes, attendees will chart items that are beyond their comfort zone as a leader
ask attendees for things that are uncomfortable for them that they would like to make comfortable.
Ask attendees to write one major thing they would like to work on this year in order to make it comfortable for themselves Encourage them to choose things they can work on in their own buildings.
Reflect and share at table groups.
Ask participants to share as a whole group.

15 minutes: Building a culture and community of trust
Share personal examples of building trust
Random Acts of Kindness
Thank you notes
Developing Norms
Reflection and Feedback
What does community mean to you? Group Activity
Ask attendees to reflect on the following questions:
What does community mean to you?
What do you need in a community in order to feel that it’s a source of strength and support for you?
Describe a community in which you’ve felt accepted and supported
Reflect as table group
How are your descriptions of the community that you heard similar to your own? How are they different?
What implications are there about how you build a community of trust with staff, students, and parents?

5 Minutes: Reflection and Feedback
Participants will reflect as a whole and also leave feedback for presenters
Presenters will share takeaways.

Supporting research

"The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy" by Jon Gordon
"The Google Infused Classroom" by Holly Clark and Tanya Avrith
"When" by Daniel Pink
“Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth

More [+]


Amy Linkel, Switzerland County School Corporation
Brett Miller, Five-Star Technology Solutions
Leslie Rennie, South Ripley

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