Several weeks ago when I was asked to introduce Dr. Reeves, I replied excitedly in the affirmative. Who would not be honored to introduce the leading authority on academic standards, performance assessment, and accountability? But as the days grew closer, a nagging question loomed, how could I do justice to a man who had literally transformed me as a truly instructional superintendent?
I first heard Dr Reeves speak in New York City, in June 2003, at the “Schools That Learn” Conference. It was truly a life-changing experience! Dr. Reeve’s words came alive as I listened intently on the message. Although I had read some of his work, I had never heard his presentation in person. I will always remember that morning as one of the greatest, most inspiring moments in my professional life. I committed myself to reading everything he wrote that I could get my hands on.
When I arrived in East Hartford as the newly named superintendent, I took three resources with me; “Daily Disciplines of Leadership,” 90-90-90 Schools, and “The Leader’s Guide to Standards.” Much to my delight, I found an anxious group of administrators and teachers poised for change, ready to commit to the hard work that confronted us. Concurrently, the State Department of Education signed on with the Leadership and Learning Center to offer an intensive in-service session for priority districts in Data-Driven Decision Making and Making Standards Work. As teams attended training, the process of implementing strategies and building capacity began.
But change is never easy and we know people change their practices before they change their beliefs. Change takes time…
Michael Fullan, a well-known change researcher, also warns that neither mandates nor force make people change. He describes change as a journey not a blueprint. There are no quick fixes; complex change depends upon the efforts of everyone and requires a commitment from all of us to work together in a focused way.
Dr. Reeves talks about the change occurring one classroom at a time. He says it’s not like the drum major giving the signal to a marching band, thus transforming the entire unit, but rather like one pebble after another being thrown into the pond creating numerous ripples, moving in numerous unpredicted directions…. Organizational change and individual change can resemble chaos and its unpredictability can cause great consternation. It is hard work, intellectually challenging and emotionally draining, but it still remains the best possible work! We are beginning to see the fruits of our labor as demonstrated by what you will see and hear today. Don’t give up…don’t become distracted…don’t get discouraged when you are so close!
Dr. Douglas Reeves is the founder of The Leadership and Learning Center. He has worked with education, business, nonprofit, and government organizations throughout the world. The author of more than 20 books and many articles on leadership and organizational effectiveness, he has twice been named to the Harvard University Distinguished Authors Series. Dr. Reeves was named the Brock International Laureate for his contributions to education. He also received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Parents Choice Award for his writing for children and parents.
Please join me in welcoming Dr. Doug Reeves who has inspired us all…
Marion H. Martinez, Ed.D.
Associate Commissioner of Education for Teaching, Learning & Instructional Leadership
Connecticut State Department of Education - 2010