by Ken Kay, CEO, EdLeader21

District Leaders: I serve as the chief executive officer of EdLeader21, the professional learning community for 21st century education leaders interested in system-wide integration of the 4Cs (creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thought). Recently, I received a call from an assistant superintendent in one of our member districts, and I was thrilled to learn that she had been appointed superintendent of the district that my grandson Ollie attends. I decided to capture my advice to her in this blog series, in collaboration with AASA, The School Superintendents Association. I invite you to collaborate with me to support this new superintendent in her journey to prepare Ollie and his classmates for life in the 21st century. Throughout this school year, we will offer advice related to different areas of 21st century district transformation. 


Letter from Ollie's  Superintendent

July, 2016

Throughout the year, Ken Kay (CEO of EdLeader21) has been sharing advice with his grandson Ollie’s new superintendent in her journey to prepare Ollie and his classmates for life in the 21st century. Here, Ollie’s superintendent reflects on her first year. 

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Letter to Ollie’s Superintendent: Focus on Leadership

April, 2016


"I have yet to see a district succeed in its 21st century education efforts without a visionary leader who not only understands and promotes, but also embodies and models, the 4Cs competencies you want to integrate system-wide. Here are three key principles of effective 21st century leadership that are worth considering."

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Letter to Ollie’s Superintendent: Focus
on Assessment

March, 2016

"Your work on assessment will require a steady hand on the tiller during these particularly challenging times. Even the term “assessment” has been given a bad name—by bad state policies, a national preoccupation with high stakes tests and an understandable popular backlash against over-testing. I hope the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will open up new opportunities for assessing what really matters, because good assessment remains an essential ingredient of 21st century education."

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Letter to Ollie’s Superintendent: Focus
on Culture

February, 2016


"Culture really is the “secret sauce” of 21st century education—but the word is used so many different ways that it’s hard to get our heads around it. So I wanted to suggest three characteristics of a 21st century professional culture, and some driving questions to help you create those conditions."

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Letter to Ollie's New Superintendent: Focusing on Pedagogy

January, 2016

"I hope that you are enjoying your superintendency and continue to be energized by the community that you serve. In my first blog, I focused on the importance of working collaboratively with others to develop a vision. As you continue this work, I think it will be important for you to help stakeholders see the connection between your vision and the pedagogy used in classrooms throughout your district."

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Letter to Ollie's New Superintendent: Defining a Vision for your District

November, 2015

"Congratulations on your first superintendency. What a great milestone in your career! I am so thrilled that you will lead my grandson’s district and that he will learn in an environment that is purposeful and intentional about preparing students for the challenges of the 21st century."

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Sourcewell (Formerly NJPA)

School Superintendents can show their respective communities how much they're trying to save money by working with AASA's School Solutions Center.