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  • Jeff Eben and Dr. A. Harris

Why Culture

To be clear, we are long-time educators. We have lead teams, classrooms, schools, districts, and other organizations for almost 30 years each. We have seen the challenges of poverty and the spoils of affluence as economics drives the very heart of our work. Regardless of where our work has been, we both have understood a fundamental truth about our responsibilities as leaders: we will only be effective if we shine our light on the need for cultural sustainability before we try to impress anyone with our strategic expertise or magical ability to pull an educational rabbit out of a hat. We are embarking on a journey to impact leaders to not only accept the challenge of building strong CULTURE in their schools and classrooms, but to include the messaging that we need to lead systems designed to promote the habit of WINNING. In our world, WINS MATTER.

One of HMW’s favorite resources is Michael Fullan, author of several books on leadership. He authored, among others, the book Moral Purpose and is an advocate for Transformational Leadership out of the principal’s office. “To accomplish lasting reform, we need fundamental transformation in the learning culture of schools…” Like Fullan, the HMW Network will advocate and promote leadership principles that will support the organization’s capacity to grow and change. As our work progresses, we will provide strategies to use in meetings, trainings, and in the classroom. Make no mistake, however, of OUR moral purpose. We want to encourage leadership. We want to promote conversations that build systemic growth and collaboration. The survival of education rests in our ability to survive constant change. We can succeed, but only if we prepare our cultures for winning.

One of the scariest things about being a new principal in a large school was trying to prepare ourselves to have all the answers. Strangely enough, after 20 years in principal’s chairs, that still is challenging. Staff and community members call on us every day to solve problems and be the keeper of the answer key. Thankfully, by studying leadership, we learned that our only responsibility is to lead the creation of a culture that empowers people to find solutions for themselves. We don’t need to= give answers, we need to ask questions that inspire collaboration and conversation. If systems are in place that allow folks to discover and learn, we have a culture that will stand the test of time.

The HMW team advocates the same approach in our classrooms with our students. Dr. Alan Harris comes to HMW out of the University of Wisconsin and brings years of proving that WINS MATTER in the classroom, at the site, and the district level. His method of SHOW, DRIVE, and CELEBRATE will revolutionize your teaching and make winning a habit for students of all abilities. Our kids are no different than the adults that teach them. They will flourish and grow in their mastery of academic skills, behavioral expectations, and character development when there is a consistent normative culture on which they can depend.

So, together, Dr. Harris and Jeff Eben welcome you to the HMW Network. We are confident that we can guide you in a year-long conversation that will help you be a transformational leader. We are convinced that our perspective is unique and we will present things to you that you will not hear/read anywhere else. We have had quantifiable leadership successes centered around the HMW concept, and we are prepared to give it to you. We ask that you prepare to open your mind to a new experience and prepare to lead with your heart!

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