The Learning Leader Lab

Glenn Robbins, Superintendent, Brigantine Public Schools - The Superintendent Series

April 07, 2023 David Culberhouse Season 1 Episode 2
The Learning Leader Lab
Glenn Robbins, Superintendent, Brigantine Public Schools - The Superintendent Series
Show Notes Transcript

Glenn Robbins is the superintendent of Brigantine Public Schools. A few of Glenn's many accomplishments are, AASA National Governing Board member,  AASA Aspiring Superintendent Mentor, New Jersey Visionary Superintendent Award winner, and the Northeast Innovative Superintendent award winner.

Music by QubeSounds from Pixabay - Rock Beat Trailer


Glenn  00:00

Because that's the beauty of a team. Everyone has a different background. Everyone has a different skill set. And they're there for a reason. And ultimately, how do you bring out the best in each and every one of them it's trust, belief, Inspire.

 

David  00:26

Hello, and welcome to the learning leader lab, brought to you by San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, and I'm your host, David Colbert house. If you are looking for conversations around innovative change leadership for our complex and exponentially changing times in education, than you have definitely come to the right place. We want to welcome you to this episode as we talk with leaders inside and outside of our county and the important work that they're doing. And so with that, let's get started. All right, hello. Really excited this morning, I have a colleague and friend from over the years with me, Glenn Robbins, who is the superintendent of Brigantine public schools. Incredible superintendent, Glenn substantial list of accomplishments are not only vast, but they're significant. They're substantial, and they're far reaching, especially in his willingness to lift up our profession for the betterment of all students and stakeholders in the educational community. However, with that said, I would like to note a few of those many accomplishments, which includes AASA, National Governing Board member, a sa, aspiring superintendent, mentor, New Jersey visionary superintendent Award, and the Northeast innovative superintendent award winner. I've known Glen for a long time. And from principal to Superintendent, the focus has always been on providing the best opportunities for students upholding student agency, which I've seen through the years with him, and creating the space for staff to grow and build capacity and new competencies. And so really appreciate all he does. And so actually, this will be the first episode in a series of Superintendent podcasts. So really looking forward to this conversation with Glenn today.

 

Glenn  02:20

Thank you, David, for the beyond kind introduction. So thank you.

 

David  02:24

No, supers super excited. And actually, Glen and I did a podcast in the past, where we really had some great guests and some really incredible conversations around education. One of the things we decided to do as a book that we really enjoyed was Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal. So we've kind of base the questions a little bit around this, especially in today's world, where we're seeing a definite rise in complexity, polarities dilemmas, adaptive challenges. And so we're just gonna have some fun with the conversation. Talk a little bit about leadership. So sound good, Glen.

 

Glenn  03:05

Sounds wonderful. Thank you. 

 

David  03:08

All right. So let's go ahead in Team of teams in the introduction, one of the things he states is that, for many successful organizations, things that once worked really, really well or superbly now seem ineffective. So how are you seeing this playing out a little bit in education? Because I know you're really always on the cutting edge?

 

Glenn  03:33

Yeah, so that's a really good question. And I think it goes more than just schools and education. I think it has to do with pretty much everything in the world right now. You know, artificial intelligence has been something that's on the forefront of every newspaper, or news media right now, that's been around for a while, you know, and we've been using it here and there, whether it's in the classrooms or other businesses and so forth. But I think about pedagogy has changed so much in the last several years, you know, learning styles, you know, brain based science, looking into how different students learn and receive information. We talked about personalized and we saw a tremendous shift during the lockdown of the pandemic, you know, there's taking more responsibility on themselves to become more personalized, whether they're growing as a teacher, growing as a student, growing as an administrator, you know, it was a time to really awaken some great passions that maybe you hadn't thought of you just have more time to work on. And then obviously, technology, how much has changed just last six months, let alone in the last couple of years, let alone you know, many years before that. You look at a traditional school system or public school system, you know, and they don't have the microfiche anymore. They don't have the giant TV card anymore. The giant TV so much has changed in the educational setting, and it's our role to continue to keep pushing for not what is our past but what is the future. What does that look like for our kids? What does that look like for my own child? I want to know what's automated driving cars work will be be flying. Well, they'd be doing something different. There's so many different things, you know, changing in our world exponentially now more than ever. But like I said, I see so much changing out in the world of education, whether it's spacing, whether it's furniture, whether it's pedagogy, whether its technology, and as superintendent, it is our job to continue to stay at the forefront of that, to continue to change these different scenarios for our kids to continue to improve the future, because we're designing it as we're going.

 

David  05:37

And I really appreciate that Glenn, because I know even one of the guests that we had on this podcast, Laura McBain from Stanford, you've had her out to talk about design thinking and educators as futurists. And I know you've worked with David, Jakes around really looking at your spaces in your schools. And one of the things I've actually even seen recently is a you know, really a deep dive with eSports. And so yeah, it I'm seeing always, like really great things happening in your district and your leadership pushing those, those concepts and ideas forward. And it's been interesting, too, because I know, it's probably something that's been on your plate we've seen with, like, chat GPT lately, but I know you and I back in even 2016 We're talking about artificial intelligence, and you know, what was coming with AI and automation and how it would affect our kids. So I don't know if you want to add anything to that. But I know it's, it's something that's always on the forefront with you.

 

Glenn  06:42

Yeah, I appreciate that. You mentioned some great people along the way that we had  conversations with but you know, one of the things like you mentioned with the Stanford folks, we had them talking about design thinking, we haven't talked about futurism, what does it look like? Because they're always administrators or teachers. You know, the eSports. You know, people just think video games. And that's about it. They're not thinking about the the sportsmanship that's involved. The tricast team gets involved, the marketing aspects, the color commentary, software, engineering, the replace to machines, and then you get into computer, computer, technical science, and so forth. So there are so many little things that are intentional about what we're trying to do out here. Because it's not just one thing, it is a complete complexity of many other things to go into each and everything you just talked about. So and it's kind of funny, David, you mentioned 2016, we're talking about this, but yet, most people tend to ignore it until it's actually right in their face. And here it is. Now, you can't go anywhere without not hearing about chat gpt. You can't go anywhere without hearing about eSports because it's a multi billion dollar industry. And it's not going away.

 

David  07:53

No, yeah. And completely understand about that. Because it's weird that, you know, as we had talked about that going all the way back to around 2016 is that this one thing really disrupted the conversations across not only education, but in business and government. I believe Italy just put a ban on it to to around some concerns they had and I know those are conversations around policies that are having to change that are happening across all systems right now. So yeah, super interesting. So I'm gonna take you into the next question. And this one builds around team of teams too I kind of did it where I throw a quote out to you, and then we take a question. And one of the things that he talks about in the book is that to succeed, or maybe even survive in the new environment, organizations and leaders must fundamentally change. And so efficiency wants the sole icon on the Hill must make room for adaptability, and structures, processes and mindsets. That is often uncomfortable, which is true. You know, and we've seen this shift from, from efficiency to adaptability recently so. But it's quite a shift. And it might be, or we really have to say it's a cognitively heavy load for leaders to consider and undertake. Where might some of today's educational leaders start as they really start to think about how do we adapt and move away from efficiency to effectiveness?

 

Glenn  09:37

Yeah, that is a deep and awesome question that you're diving into here. So, you know, I love the fact that, you know, like you mentioned, once the sole icon, on the hill you must make your adaptability in the room. You know, every new job you take on, you're now the new person in there. You have to do a lot of listening and you have to do a lot of observing and the things that got you to that position are not going to make you successful in that position for years to come. And what I mean by that is you might have had great practice and great things going on in your previous districts, or whatever it was the leadership or that angle that you're working towards. But once you take on a new role, once you take on that new environment, you have to adapt, you have to yourself have to look and continue to push yourself to think differently, you know, you're dealing with all brand new team members, you have to understand that these are human beings. And we always want to think like, you know, we want to think logically, but most of the time and all the time, human beings are emotional. And so how are you looking at that to take something from maybe their previous district, or whatever it may be their leadership was a command and control kind of style? And how do you try to transform it to trust and inspire, you know, empowering culture, you know, ultimately, your job as a leader, it's a privilege and you're serving. So regardless of where you go, you can't go in with an iron fist anymore, you need to work with your team, more than ever, you need to bring up the greatness in each and every member of your team. And that's something that's not always easy for people to do, because that requires starting all over again, that requires having some deep, intentional, meaningful conversations. At the same time, you're trying to build that team. So how are you doing that? How are you working? You know, to get team members who may, who you trust, and but yet, they don't trust each other? You know, it's remarkable when you think about that, but there are so many different organizations in schools, they have great people that just don't trust each other, yet you trust them to make a decision? And how do you bring those teams together? So, you know, for me personally, it's getting to know the individuals making them humanized and into the eyes of others, and making them realize that they're just, there are people as well, they want success. And that's ultimately your goal is to bring out the greatness in everyone to make up the greatness in these students. But how do you do that? How do you break it down to get people who've never talked to each other, or just like talking to each other, and start sharing valuable information and make sure that everything's possibly working on the right track. And I said, I think that was a lot towards empathy and a lot towards listening. And, you know, and you're checking yourself, the ego at the door, you know, I know the leader wants to be out and proud. But at the same time, the leader has to understand that you are serving these individuals, and you need to find a way to bring these teams together. And I think ultimately, that gets lost sometimes I think, you know, we're so driven by data, we're so driven by test scores are so driven by that, you have to have results. Now. It takes a while to build these teams up, it takes a lot to build those trust factors, and so forth. So I think that's where you can start is really getting to be empathetic and listen to them who they are, where they've been, trusting what they've done in the past, and envisioning and showing them how we can be different in the future by respecting the past. You know, and putting each one in charge of different things. Maybe they've never been in power before. Maybe it's always been micromanaged, you know, ask them, what are their strengths? I think a lot of times leaders try to fix the weaknesses, somebody where they should be utilizing the strength from other team members and helping each other out and  trying to build on those. Because that's the beauty of a team. Everyone has a different background, everyone has a different skill set, and they're there for a reason. And ultimately, how do you bring out the best in each one in one of them? Trust, belief, inspire.

 

David  13:35

Wow, that is incredible. Glen and and I want to unpack a few of those things. Because not only do I appreciate what you were talking about there, but I've seen you model that in your leadership, which makes it i for me more impactful. And I love how and to me this is really a 21st century leadership skills that you're able to hold those polarities together of I know that you're very visionary and you're very much into technology and you're very much thinking about the future of work for your students. But you're also then holding on the other side the empathy and and humaneness of your organizations and what it means to have psychological safety and trust in your teams and, and to bring out the best in people. And and not only that is that you always model that learner mindset, which to me is really important if a leader is going to adapt. We've really seen a disengagement from the commanding control kind of way of approaching leadership. And you've always approached it with that. That level of agency and providing the best for those that you serve and that servant leadership mindset. So I really appreciate that. So thank you.

 

Glenn  14:59

Yeah, thanks. Thanks, David, I appreciate that. And, you know, I always read that old key torch quote, in a way that he breaks it down and says I don't need people to say yes all the time, I have a shadow that does that, you know, sort of build up psychological safety with your teammates that they can have those constructive criticism and more conversations behind closed doors and not feel they're going to be judged differently, or whatever it may be. That's really, when you start getting to that outer edge and really start pushing the mindsets forward. Because they know that they're not going to be criticized or written up and so forth. Because you're having those safe conversation behind the door. So you're humanizing it at the same time, you're pushing it forward, and keeping up psychological safety, because ultimately, people don't feel trusted or respected. We're not going to share with you and your views, like I said, you have a shadow that can do all that for you, you need people that push the boundaries.

 

David  15:48

Love that. And and one of the things that I also appreciate, you know, and this would really come from the team of teams book, is that not only do you bring that level of transparency, is that that, you know, and this is me looking in from the outside is that you really have that kind of what I would call what McChrystal refers to as commander's intent is that understanding that, hey, we are all kind of trying to get to this one area. But we also know that when you know, when we're at ground level, everyone kind of has to adapt and get their their own way. So it's not really forcing people into a path, but helping people aligned to where we need to be, and then allowing them that agency to get there. So that's something that I've always seen modeled in your leadership from the outside and always appreciate that commander's intent of really just saying, Hey, I understand. And we're going to build capacity so that we can all get to where we're aligned to try and to get to, but understanding we need to get there in different ways.

 

Glenn  16:53

I appreciate that. Thank you. 

 

David  16:57

Alright, so let's dig into, I'll give you another quote here in a question. And and we'll talk about this in the book, he states at the 21st century is a fundamentally different operating environment from the 20th century. And so I think we've really seen that and I think we've gone through a lot from, especially when you think about what the what the pandemic caused, and, and how it changed the way we operate in organizations. And so around that quote, it says, I'm thinking how does education need to change to support the students for their future? And and how do we also need to change for education, our educators and educational leaders in and moving that forward?

 

Glenn  17:43

Yeah, this is a great question. And and it's a tough question, because, you know, ultimately, leaders or anybody individual, you're only as good as your your mentor, you're only as good as the education that you had. And Bernard Roth, that is from the D School, we're all secondary replicas. To me, it's question is, how do you disrupt that? How do you change that? Because if I haven't learned certain things from my mentor, that I'm going to continue to do certain things in my school district. And same thing from my previous learning style that I grew up with, how do you disrupt that? I need to change that. And I think a lot of it has to deal with, you know, are we pushing ourselves to feel free of failure? are we given the staff the psychological safety to try new things, to continue to push the boundaries of education? You know, me personally, with a pandemic, we saw during lockdown, the teachers and school districts, for the most part, were, you know, thrust into to be the very top of everything, without any additional support? And what I mean by that was state agency shutting down, it was like, Okay, do the best you can do, and we'll talk later. And I think they gave staff, and it gave leaders the opportunity to do a lot of different things that they may have not had the opportunity to do before. And it's the question now is, how do we continue to do that? How do we continue to evolve now that state agencies are back in and starting to push different mandates, again, and the political aspect and so forth, which is beyond scary around this country? Right now? How do we continue to evolve that? You know, and are we, you know, going to, are you gonna have a leader that's going to stand there in collaboration with their school boards and their city council and their politics in town to say, Hey, this is what we need to do to better ourselves and move forward. You know, are we pushing ourselves forward in professional development? Or are we rushing back to those who may have never done the job, but you have to have great theoretical practices that would not survive in your district. So that's why I always recommend going to visit other schools going to visit other leadership groups, you know, bring in different people in different mindsets in by zoom or conversations on the phone. You know, there's so many great people out there, but yet, you You want to go search out the ones that are actually doing the work. And that's personally my mission and vision is I continue to seek out those who are doing the great work and how are they working in the complexities of their school boards, how they work and the complexity of their community, how they work and the complexities of so many different things that go into the job. You know, to really make it work, instead of just reading a book from a theorists and says, Okay, that sounds like a great idea. Let's do it. And then five minutes later, you're hitting the wall, because it would not work where you are. So I know, I kind of jumped around that answer a lot. But there's so much to that question that you asked

 

David  20:43

And you make some really important points. First of all, I think of Jeremy gutscheine, quote, of like, in the midst of any crisis, there's opportunity. And so 

 

Glenn  20:56

tremendous, tremendous opportunities, 

 

David  20:58

it's real easy to get bogged down in difficulties, instead of saying, okay, so where's the opportunity for change here? And and that's what you know, I love about your answer. And in also, it was very aware, which is really important is that leaders need to be aware of their context. Because not only are you looking for best practices, and and actually next practices with what you're going out and finding this working, but also understanding how does that relay into my context in positive ways? Because that's so important, because a lot often, you know, you know, the sounds really data, but you remember how people would just put a new, a new slide on the overhead and say, Okay, we're just going to use this and and without understanding, does that really work in in my environment and my context? And I think that's really important for leaders to keep that lens when they're looking at practices that are effective, because there's a lot that usually is behind those practices that you won't see, you're just seeing the outcomes. So yeah, all right. Yeah. Very important. So I'll take you into another quote here in a question. McChrystal shares, though, we know far more about everything in it, the world has, in many respects become less predictable. Such unpredictability has happened not in spite of technological progress, but because of it. And we're seeing a lot of that. And so while this was written far before the pandemic, it really speaks to the pandemic, and actually the digital disruption that we're, we're seeing and experiencing, because, you know, you think a chat GPT before, you know, before people could get moving, they had already dropped a new version of it. And then as they dropped down, they were talking about the next version, you know, it's that kind of that near the elbow, where, as you were saying becomes exponential. And so with that thinking, how can educational leaders and organizations start to begin to prepare more effectively? When there is so much unpredictability and complexity? And I know, it's a really tough question, but you know, I just kind of wanted to get your thoughts on that a little bit.

 

Glenn  23:20

Yeah, and I think we've touched base on a couple of questions before here and there and conversation. But you know, when we think about leadership, it's adaptability. It's a flexibility. And are you modeling that? Are you that yourself? Are you rigid and egotistical, that you're stuck in your ways, and that's the best way to do it. But you mentioned, best practice versus next practice, you have the desire to finding the next practice, are you going to continue to stay on the best practice that's comfortable for you? There are some trends, we talked about that traditional leadership for the comfort, not disrupting anything, because, you know, I'll be perfectly honest, they don't want to rock the boat. And they think that's perfectly great for what their community needs. And you and I both know that the world is continuing to change so fast, that our children are not going to be living in the world that we live in, and they're gonna continue to compete in something much more faster. And how do we teach adaptability for the kid? How do we teach flexibility to the kids? When we're so driven on the test scores? You know, are we allowing them to fail, we're allowing our teachers to fail. You know, and thinking about this to Charles Munger has like a quote versus I owe a lot of my successes. Having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going and doing the opposite. I absolutely love that from a leadership point, because, like I said before, it's you know, best practices elsewhere are not going to be what's going to be working in your in your area, and your town. And everything you have to anticipate is going to be unpredictable. You know, you don't know how people are going to react to certain programs and curriculum, you don't know how people are going to react to certain things going on in your communities. And you need to be adaptable, in every sense of the word to that to continue to evolve your school district. You know, and like I said, you have to understand too, it's not about you. It is never about you, as a leader, it is about your team, it's about your students about your community. And, you know, that's ultimately what your job is to do. But I think ultimately, most of the time, leaders get so caught up in their own ego. And there's a famous thing where people say, no one ever says, I wish I had more ego. How so? It's like, how do you get away from that? And understand that you don't have all the answers, you'll never have all the answers. And you need to be able to rely on your team more than ever to get those answers.

 

David  25:49

And I really appreciate that. That serving mindset because we really live in a time where it is changing so fast, that you not only need to work more effectively with teams, but it requires some collective wisdom. And, and the way that you bring that about and and the way you approach that is really positive, especially for leaders in the 21st century. And I want to touch on something, I had this as a question, but we'll just kind of, kind of bounce it off, what you were just talking about, and it has come through a couple of times. And I know is something that we talked about often, you know, there is often a focus on test scores. And we know that we live in a much more data rich environment, in today's world. But we also know that the expectations for our students and what the world will look at, like when they go out to be college and career ready. And those expectations are changing. So as you think about data, and and not only around assessments, but even, you know, metrics that we're looking at, are you starting to kind of see a change around that of, you know, maybe in things that are being measured, because of just you know, how quick society is changing, especially with this digital disruption that's going on.

 

Glenn  27:23

 So, first and foremost, I'm thankful the test scores didn't dictate my life, I would not be where I am because of test scores. So I often think about that. And, you know, there's quantitative, this qualitative research and so forth. But you know, we've gotta stand for living and breathing people, not just a product or a number of metrics, or something, because these numbers will never support us in hard times. And what I mean by that is, you know, the world during continue to evolve as human beings, I think we need to be cognitive, and very understanding that, during these crazy times that we're living in, one of the variables that are hitting these children taking these tests in this report are the variables for any of the data that we're collecting from whether it's staff and or kids, or whatever it may be. When are we doing these different types of collections? Is it during the beginning of the year when everybody's Ultra happy is it at the end of the year when people are tired? You know, there's so many different times of the year where there's good news, bad moods, fusional, depression, and so forth. But I think, you know, data can be very useful, if used in the right way, and collected in the right way and understood, like I said, that there are variables, and I'll give you a prime example, where during the pandemic, lockdown, we left the country in unemployment, because we're right near the casinos. So you have to think about all the other variables to go into a family's life rather unimportant, you know, and what comes out of that after the casinos can open back up and so forth. And what else happens in families lives, whether it's housing, whether it's sickness this past year. I've never seen so many kids sick in the school year, with so many different viruses, so many different flu's, whether it was COVID or something else, that the kids were constantly out, you know, and they're mentally beaten down. And the same thing for the staff. You know, so like I said, I think there is valuable use of the data, and it can be used to our advantages, I think it can be used to our disadvantage for not truly looking at the larger picture in itself, which is the human element.

 

David  29:28

I really appreciate that Glenn, because the the one thing I always thought was that every data point is really a story. There's a story behind it. And and even reflecting to what you said earlier, having that empathy to see that story and understanding every data point there's a face and a person behind that. Whether from the educator to the student is incredibly important and and everything that goes on You know, from that the home to the school, it all has impact and the more we i And and I think the pandemic opened up some greater awareness to that and understanding which, you know, something we've known for years as social emotional learning are really important. Emotional Intelligence is really difficult to measure. But we know it's, it's, it's something that's really important. You know, whether it's in, you know, relationships personally or professionally at work. And so we're starting to see a real rise in those things. And I think it's really important. So I'm gonna give you one more difficult question, and then we'll do a wrap up question because I know you're busy. And so I really appreciate your time today. So in team, the teams they talk about, they say in a resilience paradigm, managers accept the reality that they will inevitably confront unpredicted threats. Rather than erecting strong specialized defenses, they create systems that aim to roll with the punches, or even benefit from them. So resilient systems are those that can encounter those unforeseen threats. And when necessary, put themselves back together again. And one of the things that we hear about a lot lately is resilience, especially for individuals as being just incredibly important, but I think is really something that we don't discuss in systems and organizations. Taking that all in into, into your thoughts, how can we begin to consider and engage resilience at a systems or organizational level, especially after the pandemic, when it's, you know, I think more needed than ever.

 

Glenn  31:58

Yeah, so I equate this to being a couple of different leadership scenarios, I think of like a boxer. You know, we went how many rounds during COVID, you know, from the lockdown to the reopening to the separation, to bring them back together to where the world is now is the exponential changes, and, and so many different things that are political, and so forth. And, you know, if we focused on all the negatives, that's all we'd ever get. But if we start focusing on the options, and not the issues, you know, we have so much more available to us, like you mentioned, you know, the chaos brings opportunity. And I really believe in that. And I think it's, you know, as a leader, as we talked about team, the teams, to be able to keep these people on that mindset that, hey, you've done all this, you're still standing, you know, you've brought you went through the worst of times, and now you're coming out in the best of times, and how do we continue to move this forward? That's where that emotional intelligence comes in from the leader. You know, one leader that I often think about was Ernest Shackleton. And you know, how he did this exploration down in the south, the South Pole and how it got, you know, stuck down there, and then a couple years to be able to keep all these people alive, and then be able to overcome that and break free and go back to civilized world. Think about the amount of times he had to make decisions for the best of his people, using the data that he had, using this emotional intelligence that he had said talk, this person worked better with this person. So we can delegate that. And you can't put these two together because that won't work persisted not be a great fit. So it's constantly assessing, constantly reflecting. And, you know, for the resiliency team, I think it's also celebrating the wins, too. You know, like, you need to be proud of the work that you've done, you got to be proud of the work you continue to do. And you need to celebrate those. And if you're not celebrating it, your team, and you're constantly driving forward, and while you're getting stuck where you are, and you forget that your first job is to serve these people to empower them and make them stronger, then you're not going to get very far. So going back to that complexity and that resiliency team, that resiliency is built by the leader in itself. Are they pushing those people for it? Are they supporting them? Are they challenging them? Are they teaming them up with the right people amongst themselves? Are they working towards their strengths? Me personally, I think our teachers have done a remarkable, amazing job. And we keep pushing them to keep moving forward. But at the same time we support them, we cherish them, and we let them know that, you know, how often are we doing that educators letting our staff know, thank you. Thank you for doing all this uplifting thank you for doing all this tremendous work and crazy political and economical and technological times. And yet you're still standing. And yet you're still thriving. And yet you're still pushing these kids to have a better life and you're pushing your co workers to rise up more. You need to be celebrating those little things along way. Like I said, it's a reflection each and every day, and every day is how we're going to continue to make it better for the others.

 

David  35:09

Great thoughts, Glen, and you made me think of this quote that I just saw the other day, it says, I have a wonderful track record. I've survived 100% of all bad days. And, and even unpacking that, one of the things that I often think about is today's leaders. I mean, there's so much more to it, but they really need to seize in and thinking about what you know, you were saying is that, and I think of this individually, and organizationally, those two C's, our capacity and compassion, I think you can forego building capacity for yourself and for others, but you have to do it in a way that has compassion and takes people from where they are to where they want to be. Because I don't think anyone walks into a job and doesn't want to do well. But sometimes we don't know where to go, or we don't know how to build capacity. And so it can't just be inspiration. And you have to have the compassion to help them build the capacity to be more effective. Because that is really, I think, a leaders role. So I think you brought all that together. And I really appreciate that. So I'm gonna give you our ending anchor question as we wrap up here. And and I really want to thank you for the conversation and all great thoughts and actually kicking off this first episode of our superintendent series. So I appreciate that. Thank you. And so here's the question that we usually ask of every guest is, and and it might even take us a little bit back to the podcast that we used to do together is what do you think is next for education and learning?

 

Glenn  36:54

Well, I think we're at a unique time right now. Because I think there's an opportunity to really thrust forward. And I also think there's a lot of people pushing for the opportunity to go backwards. And that's scary to me, as a father as an educational leader, because we want to continue to design the world for the better. But, you know, obviously, we talked about artificial intelligence, we talked about eSports. We talked about, you know, all these different changes, whether it's pedagogy or technology, and or emotional intelligence and psychological safety. You know, at the end of the day, human beings are always be human beings, and we still need to cherish them and humanize people. What do I think's next for education, I really hope that there's enough leaders out there that are willing to stand up morally and ethically for, you know, the right things to do for our children and our families in our communities. Right now, a lot of them are being pushed around, a lot of them have resigned, a lot of them have move on, you know. So, you know, it takes a backbone right now to work with news into various parts of the country. And I'm not saying the job is easy by any means. But ultimately, for me, what's next? What's the experience we're trying to create? What are we trying to do each and every day? And that's to better the lives of our students and make them super successful going forward? For jobs that they're going to create along the way? And how do we continue to expose them to so many different things? We're outside of the traditional landscape? You know, how do we get them into TV? How do we get them in the eSports? And different all those different backgrounds of what can be part of the gaming industry and or the TV industry or podcasting, or anything forward? How do they design their own apps? How do we get into cybersecurity? It's something we started this past year, in eighth grade, we offer cybersecurity classes for eighth graders, and how do we team up with the Chamber of Commerce, and to expose them to what true business is about at the same time learning, you know, all the great things and the difficult things adopted in this And so what did they need from us and the educational sector to move these kids forward? So my hope and passion for what's next is that we continue to move forward and use this chaos as an opportunity, and to continue to make the best possible scenario for our kids, because I want to see a greater world. And ultimately, for me, I would love for years down the road for these kids to be flourishing in so many different ways that we never had the opportunity to do ourselves.

 

David  39:25

Well, Glenn, that is really kind of all encompassing of everything I've seen from your leadership over the years. I even think back I was thinking back this morning to when you were a middle school principal, and you took the risk to bring in ED camp into your schedule to give students agency around their choice of what they would like to do for the day. And those kinds of intentional risks. To have a better experience what you what you were discussing for kids is something that you've always modeled. And I truly appreciate that. So I not only appreciate your leadership, I appreciate your friendship over the years and, and everything that you put forth to not only be on the cutting edge, but intentionally be on the cutting edge to do things better for students and your staff. And I want to say both of those, because I don't think you just leave one for the other. You do it for both. And so truly appreciate that.

 

Glenn  40:34

I appreciate that, because it's not easy to ask. And like I said, I want to make it known that it's not easy every day is a different challenge every day is a different situation that comes up. But every day, I keep the mindset of what can I do to better the lives of my staff, which ultimately better the lives of our students. And, you know, besides, like, you've mentioned ed camp years ago, and now we have that in my current district now, which is our flex time and near time, which is ungraded, that flexibility to work on their projects that they really want to work on. You know, they have so many great ideas and so forth. And a lot of times you push them, and I love the fact I was just talking to a teacher a little bit ago, you know, part of her assignments that their kids if they have to teach her something new, you know, in the fact that she pushed her own ego aside and says, Hey, you have to teach me something new in your projects. And wherever you're putting together. I think that speaks volumes to the teacher and the system we're trying to build here because we're trying to instill that leadership and kids as well, and how often we talked about student voice? And how often do we give them that voice? And how often do we open those opportunities for them? So, David, and I'll be honest, a lot of it comes from inspiration from you, your blogs, your pitch your tweets and things you put out there. It makes a lot of us across the country to dig deeper into our own thoughts and say how might be and what if? Thank you David Culverhouse and many others.

 

David  41:59

Thank you, Glenn, that was really kind. Other than that, I'll let you kind of wrap us up. Is there anything you want to add? Or if someone wants to even reach out to you through Twitter or something? Do you want to add that? Here as we wrap up?

 

Glenn  42:18

Yeah, no problem. I'm on Twitter @Glennr1809, also on LinkedIn, and Facebook and Instagram, and so forth. If you want to email me, it's glennr1809@gmail.com. I think, you know, one thing I'd like to mention is I think that's a part of my job that I really enjoy, is having conversations with leaders, regardless of your title. Everybody is a leader and I have these conversations all over the country and all over the globe. Because ultimately, like I said, it makes me better and makes them better. And it makes the kids better. And that's what it's all about. So, you know, lastly, I just say, you know, if you don't have a mentor yet, find one. And it doesn't have to always be the older mentor, it can also be a young mentor, get the reverse mentor. And so I have a few to keep me on my toes. And I'm beyond appreciate about that. So I said, please feel free to reach out happy to help out in any different way I can. Because ultimately, my goal in life is to make the world better for for kids and make the world better

 

David  43:19

And Glenn, thank you today not only for your time, but for the leadership conversation that you shared with us because it's so inspiring. And and thank you for, you know, over the years making me better. And so, other than that, we appreciate you being here and we look forward to watching what you do in the future. So thank you again for all your leadership.

 

Glenn  43:45

Thank you have a great day.

 

David  43:49

On behalf of San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and myself, we want to thank you again for tuning in for this episode of the learning leader lab. And we look forward to you joining us again for future episodes as we engage leaders inside and outside of our county to explore leadership that is having real impact for the future.