Transformational Leadershop – Fran Prolman

Another workshop from the CEESA Conference. The big idea of the workshop is the leader changes as the followers also change. Both leader and participant raise to higher levels of motivation.

Dr. Fran Prolman Led the Workshop


Transformational Leadership can be categorized into three areas.

1) Relationship Building – Getting outside of ourselves and seeing their point of view.  

2) Taking a Risk – I can re-invent myself in my work. I can re-invent myself all the time. Always growing.

3) Creating a Culture – I can create a culture of learning, whether it be a hostile environment or nice environment.

Part I. Relationship Building

Fran likes to give us authors and book titles.  Margaret Wheatley “Turning to One Another” and “Leadership in a New Science” – Water will always finds its way to the ocean. It has the power to reshape granite. It will always finding a way to the ocean. It is a nice metaphor.  

Ways to build transformational leadership and collegiality:

Teaching is an isolating experience. The key is to get teachers to observe one another, sharing expertise at faculty meetings, asking for help,

A nice idea to do is to build collaborative team time built right into the schedule. 

Another good author is Susan Scott with her book Fierce Conversations.

Another good book is the “Fred Factor” by Mark Sanborn.   “How can I be the best Principal you have ever had?” In this book, he writes about the “B’s”

  • Be real
  • Be interested (It is not about me, it is about you as a transformational leader.) Fran Polman interviews people at cocktail parties. Does the person notice they do not know anything about? When this happens, the other person is now ready for a two-way relationship. Another example is when a student comes into your office between classes.
  • Be a better listener

When someone comes in an asks if they have a minute, I ask them what the topic is. Then I either go for it or ask them to set an appointment.

  • Be empathic – I want to see things through your lens. 1/3 of any group of adults are dealing with something really hard (illness, divorce) – they need support 1/3 they are healing from the abyss – 1/3 in a state of illusion
  • Be honest
  • Be helpful
  • Reinvent yourself regularly – Increase you Implementation Quotient – increase your capacity

What I am taking from this session in the three categories?

1) I am going to focus on taking the viewpoint of younger teachers.

2) I like the idea of postponing a conversation by setting an appointment, but first asking what the topic is.

This is a strength of mine.

Part II. Risk-Taking

Another good author is Carol Dweck and her book “Mind Set” defines two mindsets, the first being a performance goal versus a learning goal. The first mindset, the people will not take risks because of afraid of failure. An attribute of success after school is to take risks. Michael Fullan wrote in “Implementation Dip” that there will be a big descent after the implementation to the abyss of change and teachers will play out according to their personalities and maturity. When the group hits rock bottom, they begin to think about what exactly support systems they need to get back up to the top. This is “creative tension” is what cranks up the creativity. You as an inspirational leader work the hardest at the bottom to bring them to a higher level.  This also applies to new families to the school. It is a big change for them to entrust you with their child and they will struggle at first.  The time frame is 3 – 5 years

The degree to which the leader challenges assumptions, seeks feedback from others.

Eric Weihenmayer is a blind mountain climber who leads blind children to high peaks. He used to be a MS teacher, wrestling coach, and the only blind person ever to climb Mnt. Everest.

Another transformational leader is Ben Carson, who was raised in the ghettos of Detroit and a single mother with a third grade education. Her mother made him to read a book a week and write a report on it. He is the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at John Hopkins Hospital at age 32.  He believes in THINK BIG (talent, honesty, Insight, Nice, Knowledge) and then (Books, In-depth learning, God) His most recent book is “Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose, and Live with Acceptable Risk. He uses this decision making process with

What am I taking away from this session?

1) Talk to the teachers about the Michael Fullan descent and ascent change before we do the 1:1 lap top program.

2) Seek feedback AND data from the staff regarding the schedule.

3) Go with the filming of teachers

I would say I am more conservative and less of a risk-taker.


John Lui “Earth’s Hope”

I attended a talk by John Lui at the CEESA Educators’ Conference in Tallinn, Estonia.

Mr. Lui Shows Sediment Flow in a Creek


He gave a talk on his restoration of a highland wetland in Rwanda. Jarod Diamond gave the reason of the genocide was a fight over scarce resources. He was working at the head waters of the White Nile and Congo River, and environmental problems at that highland, it affects all the way down the river basins. All of these horrible events are caused by deforestation by humans.

He feels this is the “panda” of biome restoration. This is an extremely beautiful place with rare orchids, birdlife, volcanoes, lakes, etc. This is also a place that is coming out of genocide.

Plants are 80-90% water and when they are removed from a hillside, and the rain during the rainy season is not soaked up by the missing plants. This causes sedmintation, even mud slides,  which bury villages and kill villagers. No one ever talks about the cause of the mudslides on the news. The cause is deforestation. Another indicator of a degraded environment is when rivers do not flow the whole year. One thing they did in Ethiopia, they make the gullies meander to allow a slower flow and the water infiltrate the soil. This also raised the water table. This is a physical change to aid restoration. The other change is biological, with the planting of trees. The amount and percentage of biomatter is huge.

The determinate of ecosystems is the infiltration of rainfall water. He also feels that biodiversity is separate from the process of water retention. He says that we exist because of wilderness, and we need to nurture biodiversity for the possibilities. He also feels that we are not capable of making good decisions.

He commented on the Copenhagen Summit. Two accomplishments were the setting up a carbon-trading scheme and the second was REDD (Reduction of Carbon Emissions by reducing deforestation). He has been publically speaking for 5 years and it is always accepted by every crowd that has watched his presentations.

All cradles of civilization went through the same process. Cut down the trees, plant on slopes, leading to serious degradation of their environment. The wealth and power of a civilation leaves, but the peasant farmers stay for generation. One example is the Loess Plataue in China, the cradle of the Han people.

Idea of canopies, not only the tree canopy and the grass canopy. There is a microclimate under the trees AND under the grass.

You can click on the “Hope on a Changing Climate” link to see one of John’s movies. There is also a good website that will help educators use his ideas and work in their classrooms. The Environmental Education Media Project web site can help. His main web site is also full of more information.

In Colombia there is a project called Las Gaviotas. They used a pine species to improve the pH of the soil and they are no pruning. I’ll need to look it up.