As I enter my fourth year as Dean of the School of Education at the University of Redlands, I would like to turn newsletter articles toward more intellectual leadership in education terrain. This year I will explore our interconnections in education, how we are preparing students to be educational leaders to serve society, and ethics in leadership. These themes come from the work the School of Education is doing to transform our work toward educational thought leadership that supports interconnections between the University and the communities in which we work.

 The work of schools of education is to prepare teachers, administrators and counselors to deeply intertwine with their local communities. For those of us in education, the intertwined nature of our work means that we each rely on each other to advance education. As a school of education in the Inland Empire, our students come overwhelmingly from area k-12 schools and universities. Our students’ observation, fieldwork and eventual employment are also in area schools.  We are all part of this cycle of education, where the experience in one part of the system deeply informs another. 

Our vested interest in improving teacher preparation rests, in large part, on the system of education from which our teacher candidates come. In turn, schools rely upon us to advance the education of the next generation of students by improving the preparation of our teachers. We are intertwined and interdependent. 

In an interdependent system it is a challenge to innovate and transform, but if we are to meet the challenges of an increasingly socially and economically diverse area, we must. Seeing our work interdependently, as opposed to in isolation, allows for systems thinking that can truly transform how we approach our work so that systems connect, rather than create barriers for education opportunity. 

Thinking and acting in interdependent ways is not simple. While we each have a significant ability to impact individual lives through our work, it is our collective efforts that can transform our communities for the better.