As you think about your own leadership, I’m curious if you give yourself the kind of scrutiny you may give your own team members?
In other words, are you allowing the kind of self-reflection where you first identify your own areas of needed growth before asking others to grow?
These are the thoughts and questions I had in mind as I finished Dr. Muhammad’s book, Transforming School Culture: How to Overcome Staff Division (Leading the Four Types of Teachers and Creating a Positive School Culture), available now in its 2nd edition from Solution Tree Press.
In this week’s podcast episode, Dr. Muhammad discusses takeaways from his book as well as his reflections on current events, including responses to racism and COVID-19. Listen to the podcast version for full context and feedback in this important conversation!
Meet Dr. Muhammad
Anthony Muhammad, PhD, is a much sought-after consultant. He currently serves as the CEO of New Frontier 21 Consulting, a company dedicated to providing cutting-edge professional development to schools all over the world. His tenure as a practitioner has earned him several awards as both a teacher and a principal. When he was principal of Levey Middle School in Southfield, Michigan, his school was recognized as a National School of Excellence, as student proficiency on state assessments more than doubled in five years.
His work has allowed him to work with schools across all U.S. states and throughout the world. Dr. Muhammad is recognized as one of the field’s leading experts in the areas of school culture and organizational climate. He is the author of several books on school culture and education leadership.
Exploring School Culture
WDP: As you study school cultures across the U.S., what do you see as a solution for struggling school systems?
Dr. Muhammad: A great book, Tinkering Toward Utopia: A Century of Public School Reform Revised Edition by David B. Tyack and Larry Cuban, is an analysis of the American public school system from its inception. The infrastructure is solid. It doesn’t need to be dismantled; it needs to be improved. Although many students have great opportunities, those same options are not available for all students. What are the barriers keeping all students from having access to those options? This is where school leaders need to confront the systemic biases that often keep disablied students, second-language students or other margenalized populations pathways to those same opportunities.
WDP: Could you give listeners a quick overview of the four types of educators you identify in your research and the effects they have on school culture?
Dr. Muhammad: How can schools with the same challenges end up with such different outcomes in reaching goals or failing to overcome obstacles? The answers are mainly sociological. The competing ideologies are seen in the cultures and sub-cultures within schools. Who carried the weight of influence determined who had the outcome. Healthy versus toxic cultures depend on four kinds of people: