Unlearning and relearning leadership to meet the needs of tomorrow’s schools and students

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A six month program providing practical approaches and strategies for how to build and impact organizational culture, support connectivity, and focus on student learning and staff growth.​

Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today​

“The premise of this program is that a leader’s vision combined with specific actions will increase efficacy, engagement, inspiration, empowerment, and ultimately student learning and success. We believe that leaders must unlearn many concepts and experiences that have served them well if we are to create a new reality for today’s and tomorrow’s students.”​

The program is facilitated by Dr. Michael Lubelfeld and Dr. Nick Polyak. They are superintendents, authors of the book The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today, and moderators of the monthly Twitter chat #suptchat​

Peer Mentoring

During the program participants enter into a peer mentoring partnership with a co-participant. Through the peer mentoring sessions, participants test their ideas while providing and receiving feedback. Importantly, these sessions are focused on outcome driven conversations designed to help participants contextualize key learning. Additionally, these sessions lead to a deeper connection between peers and a better understanding and appreciation of each other’s challenges. The peer mentoring process is fundamental to the program and greatly enhances learning outcomes.​

Self-Directed Learning

Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today draws upon and expands the conceptual framework from The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today. The book explores effective leadership techniques and results that can be replicated to change leadership across the world with a setting focus of K-12 education in the United States. Throughout the program, self-directed learning content aligned to the book is accessible via our state of the art online learning management system (LMS) allowing participants to engage with it at any time from any device. Content includes high quality video tutorials, best practice leadership literature, experiential activities, and reflective tasks. Throughout the program, participants are also free to connect with each other 24/7 via the LMS and discuss top-of-mind issues.​

Program Modules

Social Media and Digital Collaboration

In module four, participants will become fluent in social media and its influence in leadership. Outcomes will include an appreciation for how social media can help leaders across the world connect and collaborate on common challenges and how digital networks help modern leaders to increase their knowledge and refine their professional practice. Participants will see how they can leverage digital connection opportunities to lead and learn for tomorrow.

Reimagining Professional Development

In module five, participants will discuss the need to think differently about how we learn in schools and organizations. Participants will unlearn old practices of professional and adult learning at the micro and macro levels. Participants will also explore the impact of professional association partnerships on their practice and ultimately begin to consider adult learning in new and more meaningful ways.

Relearning Leadership and Implications for Professional Practice

In module six the overall topic of leadership is addressed from the unlearning perspective. In this module participants will explore concepts such as flexibility, visibility, compassion, and service. They will start the incredible journey of unlearning and relearning leadership in their own school and district.

The Connected Leader

In module one participants learn what is meant by the “connected educator/leader”. The facilitators address “connection” and how this is a vital part of the modern educator’s skill set. They confront long held beliefs that leadership is lonely while challenging the process for networking and for leading systems change.

The Case for Change

In module two, participants will study and discuss various change philosophies (i.e. Senge, Reeves etc.) and approach their construct of planning and creating conditions for change. In addition, they will learn how to apply strategies and tactics for leading and managing the change process. In this module participants will also set the stage for a real change process within their school.

Leading Change: Examples from the Field

In this module participants will see actual examples of change initiatives from practice following principles laid out in module two. Participants will model and share a new way of leading from within their organization through experience, observation, trial, and error. Overall outcomes include unlearning old truths, leading in new ways, and putting forth a powerful and positive impact and legacy for leadership.

Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today employs an integrated learning methodology based around expert advice, peer knowledge sharing, and practical workplace application. Throughout the program, activities and discussions are related back to the day-to-day realities and challenges of the participant group ensuring the learning is contexualized to their specific needs.​ The following elements are incorporated into the program:

Delivery Elements

Interactive Online Sessions

Throughout the program participants attend six, 1.5 hour, interactive online sessions. These extended webinar sessions can be accessed from any desktop computer or mobile device allowing for minimal disruption to participant workdays. The live sessions allow participants to interact directly both as a cohort and in smaller groups while engaging in meaningful discussion pertinent to the respective module.​

Program Facilitators​

Dr. Michael Lubelfeld

Michael Lubelfeld has served as a public school superintendent in Illinois since 2010. In addition, he has worked as an adjunct professor at National Louis University in the Department of Educational Leadership. A public school educator and educational leader for more than 25 years, Lubelfeld has served as an assistant superintendent, a middle school associate principal, a principal, and a middle school teacher. He has experience teaching social studies, reading, and civics. Earning his doctorate in education in curriculum and instruction allowed Lubelfeld to test theories of learning in action. He was named a 2015-2016 NSPRA Superintendent to Watch, and in 2017 he was named the Lake County (IL) Superintendent of the Year. He is the co-moderator of the monthly Twitter chat #suptchat with Dr. Nick Polyak, and he and Dr. Polyak co-authored the book The Learning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today (Rowman-Littlefield Publishers). His latest book, released in January 2018, is titled Student Voice: From Invisible to Invaluable.

Dr. Nick Polyak

Nick Polyak serves as the Superintendent for Leyden Community High School District #212. The district contains two comprehensive high schools with 3,500 students from Franklin Park, Melrose Park, Northlake, River Grove, Rosemont, Schiller Park, and Unincorporated Leyden Township. Dr. Polyak is married with four young children and they reside in suburban Chicago. Nick earned a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision from Loyola University Chicago where he received the Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. He holds a Master of Arts Degree and Chief School Business Officer (CSBO) license from Governors State University. Dr. Polyak’s undergraduate work was at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mathematics and Secondary Education. Dr. Polyak is proud to lead an award winning school district. Over the past few years at Leyden, the district has received many honors.

Program Reference Material​

The unlearning leader: Leading Tomorrow's Schools Today

The book The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today features a series of unique elements, including: reflective questions that unpack the essential queries for each chapter with a stop-think-act feature; a unique end of chapter feature SUPTCHAT: Stop, Understand, Plan, Think, where suggested actions and reflected questions are tied to the letters from the monthly superintendent Twitter chat which exemplifies new leading and learning; and a relationship between new learning and leading methods related to evidence based practices from Kouzes and Posner’s The Leadership Challenge.


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Please note:

By completing this form you indicate your intention to participate in this program​ at the fee of $1,595 USD

Registration and Fees​

The standard program fee is $1,595 USD 

This covers all program related materials, online sessions and tuition.​

To officially register for the program complete the form opposite.

Following the submission of this form you will be contacted by a NESLI Enrollments Officer to confirm program dates and payment options.

If you would like to speak to someone about the program in more details please contact us below.

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Office of the National Director, NESLI

Global Schools Leadership Alliance

111 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 3150

Portland, Oregon 97204

NESLI Enrollments Office
One World Trade, Suite 8500
New York, NY 10007​

Tel: (844) 652 5944

Email: info@NESLI.education

Web: NESLI.education

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