LEADERSHIP ON THE FRONTLINES

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The knowledge base is growing (in fact exponentially), information technology does operate faster and requires less and less space, the economy is global and interdependent. Short is not the only one to attest to these notions. In fact, one widely referenced source which highlights these ideas as fact is Thomas Freidman’s (2005) The World is Flat. Pink stated likewise in his 2008 address to the NASSP convention audience: technology and off-shore outsourcing will increasingly continue to replace routine work where there are clear black and white answers and logical sequentially reached solutions. For instance, witness the recent
development and explosive sales of software products such as those to complete one’s taxes or basic legal documents.

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LEADERSHIP ON THE FRONTLINES:

The theme for this year’s address, yearbook and convention—Leadership on the frontlines: Changes in preparation and practice—emanates from the text by Morgan and Lynch (2006), Leading from the Front: No Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women. While liberty was taken with the title and while the text may at first blush seem directly applicable only to women, this address, conference, and yearbook are by no means a feminist treatise or only of use to our female attendees or members. In fact, the poignancy of the theme and its discussion and approval revolved around where we find ourselves today as a nation, and as preparers of educational leaders.

The following text draws from previous NCPEA presidential messages as well as other relevant literature. I am deeply indebted to and greatly influenced by the espoused principles of this organization and by what our leaders have called us to be and to do. My desire is to remind us of past successes which serve as exemplars of NCPEA’s mission, beliefs, and purposes. Further this message is intended to encourage and persuade members to join in
being in the present by associating with the organization and its state affiliates, attending conferences, contributing to CONNEXIONS, conducting research of practice, and mentoring new and aspiring faculty. Finally, I hope to inspire members to envision an even better future for our organization and our profession. Consider this a call, if you will, to challenge the processes that diminish the encouragement of hearts or which derail leaders from modeling
the way in creating and maintaining educational preparation programs and school practices that are inclusive, just, and relevant.
Let us first glance back to our past, not too distantly mind you, but far enough that we might have expected to see some things become reality. If we believe, as is asserted in literature on change (see, for example, Fullan, 1993; Kotter, 1996), that it takes at least seven years for change to occur, then we should look back at least that far. So, if we look back 14 years to a previous presidential address on changes and challenges in the professoriate, we should indeed see some results or trends. We should take heart because our president in 1993-1994, Paula Short was such a prophetic visionary. Her presidential address to NCPEA was correct.

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