In today’s episode, Kelly Niccolls, Learning Design Manager from the Getting Smart team, is joined by Kristi Dominguez and Ellen Dorr for a follow-up podcast on leading school systems towards healing with love.

Building upon their first discussion in episode 252, Ellen and Kristi focus on the commitment of leadership practices and tending to the exhaustion of students, staff, and stakeholders. In addition to the uncertainty of the pandemic, Kristi and Ellen also talk about the current state of the nation and how they are taking action as leaders to ensure all students and their families know that they are seen, heard, and loved.

This episode dives into the depths of leading with love; that love is truth, love is a commitment, love is being clear and direct, and that love is making tough decisions. This relentless love is what Kristi and Ellen lead with to ensure that all students are the center of decision-making and that they continue to work towards the future of school systems that will heal better. In their conversation, they talk through the leadership challenges of planning for the return to school this fall, in light of COVID-19 safety regulations, discuss the ways that they are learning, how they are leading practices towards anti-racist outcomes, and how they have been finding ways to nurture through such times of pain and peril.

Key Takeaways:
[:10] About today’s episode.
[2:22] Kelly Niccolls welcomes Kristi and Ellen to the podcast!
[4:33] What preparing for the fall semester looks like from dealing with the unknowns to continuing to do the right things for kids and providing relevant, meaningful learning experiences that they’ll want to be engaged in.
[9:57] How Kristi and Ellen are taking into consideration the current protests and BLM movement when thinking of their next moves as leaders of school systems. They share how they will be serving the students that are harmed in systemic oppression and racism through being intentional in their actions as leaders and tending to the hearts and souls of those who are hurting.
[15:56] About the Getting Through microsite.
[16:37] How Kristi and Ellen are identifying the key pillars that they need to lead through and be really diligent about, not making any negotiations to ensure that school systems do come back new and changed in ways that are necessary to uphold the liberties of all children and to be exemplary of what high-quality teaching and learning really look like.
[20:18] How Kristi and Ellen are able to hold the space to honor conflicting important suggestions by stakeholders, students, teachers, leadership teams, and the community while co-designing.
[26:35] Bright points of their collaborative work, outcomes that they’re pleased with, and things that are on the horizon for teaching and learning.
[29:29] How Kristi and Ellen are leading with love through the work that they’re doing; where they are seeing love, hope, and optimism; and how they are feeling and experiencing love throughout the community.
[35:20] Kelly thanks Kristi and Ellen for joining the podcast and sharing their insights!

Mentioned in This Episode:
Kelly Niccolls
Ellen Dorr
Renton School District
Kristi Dominguez
Bellingham Public Schools
Getting Smart Podcast Ep. 252: “Kristi Dominguez & Ellen Dorr: Leading Central Systems Through COVID-19 with Optimism, Hope & Love”

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