Educational Change Through Shared Commitments to Student Learning: Lead the Change Interview With Keith Gurley

Dr. Keith Gurley is an associate professor of educational leadership at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Gurley has served public schools across several states and has nearly 30 years experience as a classroom teacher, building- and district-level administrator, and now as a professor of educational leadership. His teaching and research interests include equipping aspiring school leaders with an understanding of the power of developing and maintaining strategic focus in schools to effect high levels of learning for all.

In this interview, part of the Lead the Change Series of the American Educational Research Association Educational Change Special Interest Group, Gurley shares his perspective on the role of educators and leaders in instituting educational change. He advocates for approaches such as professional learning communities as a way to promote and provoke change. Gurley also suggests educational leaders recognize the “importance of shared mission, vision, values, and goals (MVVG), fully adopted and passionately owned by all school stakeholders, coalescing exclusively around high levels
of student learning.” These suggestions aim to build a stronger system of public education in the United States rooted in shared goals for :

Public education in the United States is a radical proposition: the explicit goal is that every
child has equal access to high levels of instruction, learning, and achievement. This radical
proposition was established relatively recently in the history of American schooling through the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation (2002). Though rife with faults and
unrealistic expectations, NCLB has had a profound impact on public schooling in America,
and continues to affect the daily educational experiences of school leaders, teachers, and
students across our nation….Public schooling in the United States is a radical proposition, indeed, but only if educators can agree that the focus of their efforts is student learning.

This Lead the Change interview appears as part of a series that features experts from around the globe, highlights promising research and practice, and offers expert insight on small- and large-scale educational change. Recently Lead the Change has also interviewed Kenneth Russell about the role of public education in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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