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In October of 2021, DeWitt met Michael Nelson, Assistant Executive Director of the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) when Michael asked Peter to give a virtual keynote for WASA. A few months later, after beginning to develop a relationship, they along with Chris Beals (project coordinator for WASA) created the Instructional Leadership Network (ILN) for WASA.
As the brain child of Nelson, the ILN was a 2-year, monthly, hybrid professional learning journey specifically designed for Directors of Teaching and Learning from across the state of Washington. This hybrid approach resonated with Peter, because of the hybrid approach he had taken in his coaching and facilitation work. However, Michael and Peter constantly discussed ways to go deeper with the learning they could provide to teachers and leaders.
A Need for Change in Professional Learning
In the Spring of 2023, Peter and Michael began writing a book together for Corwin Press, which is called Leading with Intention: How School Leaders Can Unlock Deeper Collaboration and Drive Results (May. 2024).
Through their writing they began to have deeper discussions about how they wanted to provide professional learning. The reason for these conversations was due to the overwhelming number of times educators would attend workshops and not know exactly why they were there.
Additionally, DeWitt and Nelson read Will Guidara’s book Unreasonable Hospitality. And they instantly saw connections to how they wanted to provide professional learning that not only focuses on content but also on how people come together in the first place. Please click here to read an article Nelson wrote for Education Week on the topic.
Whether it’s leadership coaching, a year-long hybrid approach to leadership team professional learning, or facilitating one-day workshops, DeWitt and Nelson focus on two fundamental questions, which are:
That should always be the focal point of any professional learning. And how people come together and feel while they are learning is the other necessary ingredient that DeWitt and Nelson will always make a part of the experience.
A Rigorous and Optimistic Path Forward
Peter and Michael have created the Unreasonably Good Leadership newsletter, which brings together diverse voices around topics such as inclusion, gratitude, women and leadership, and countless other topics that educators want to talk about. The newsletter incorporates Padlet so that readers can share their own stories as well.
Additionally, they have created a membership community (free) for educators who would like access to research, articles, blogs, videos, and other resources. The community is called the Instructional Leadership Collective and educators from around the world are joining and learning from one another.
The Instructional Leadership Collective’s focus dedicated to engaging in learning with educators (teachers, building leaders, district leaders, and school board members), by focusing on internal and external self-awareness, fostering human interconnectedness, and being more intentional in their actions. Both DeWitt and Nelson have rich experiences as teachers and leaders, and they want to use that experience to foster a collective where educators come together and learn from one another.
If you're interested in joining the collective for a year-long hybrid coaching relationship or leadership team professional learning with Peter DeWitt or Michael Nelson please contact them directly through this website.