21st Century Administration
Director of Admissions
The Oakridge School
LLI: Tell us why you think this is an important course for administrators to attend?
Cobb: As we prepare our schools for the important changes happening across the educational landscape, we must make sure we are also preparing ourselves for the new demands. Today’s educators face unique challenges never encountered—or even imagined—by their predecessors. Leading a school that can thrive in a global, technologically advanced society with students using digital tools that evolve at a blistering pace to succeed at careers that don’t even exist yet is a daunting task! Today, 21st Century skills have become survival skills for students and teachers. Schools must have the support and leadership of school administrators who understand the challenges and benefits of the 21st century. This course will offer research and data regarding 21st Century school administration while reflecting on the best practices for dealing with these monumental changes that are occurring.
LLI: If they could take one idea from the course and implement it, what would it be?
Cobb: The idea that administrators in 21st-century schools are now “Lead-Innovators” and thought leaders. Today school leaders are way more than managers… they are pedagogical leaders, innovation leaders, student success advocates, and much more. So, the ability to effectively handle the increased demands is of utmost importance.
LLI: Can you tell us about a time when innovative administration immediately affected a school culture?
Cobb: I believe anytime you ask the question “Could we do it better?” You’re on your way to innovative administrative success. There have been many times over my career that we have made innovations to a classroom, school activity, our community event that has resulted in dramatic positive student outcomes. Amazingly some of the greatest innovation that has happened in our hallways has come from very simple discussions and questions. This course will allow us to have those conversations with other leaders contemplating the very best for their students.
LLI: Outside of purchasing, what is the one most effective way administration can support technology use in the classroom?
Cobb: Our 21st century administrators need to be effective instructional and technological leaders in their schools. The most effective support a school leader can give their teachers and students in regard to innovative uses of technology is through pedagogical shifts. Administrators must be actively participating in the selection and implementation of the tools teachers will use to engage students and improve learning. 21st century administrators should be able to understand how tools like blogs, wikis, Google apps, Twitter, and other social networking and Web 2.0 technologies can be used to support students in meeting the expectations that have been set forth for a 21st century classroom.
LLI: What do you see as the next big challenge for administrators in running a top school?
Cobb: There are many challenges for school administrators in running a successful school. Today those challenges are multiplied as we consider the advantages and challenges of 21st-century education. There’s never been a time when it has been more important to be focused on what we can do to help teachers and students consider the skills needed for the future. It is so important for us as administrators to be willing to ask thoughtful, innovative questions about how school is benefiting our students. Effective professionals learn something new every day in both formal and informal settings. 21st century administrators need to create and support environments where staff members are encouraged to work collaboratively to share their expertise and learn from one another. Administrators can take the first steps toward this vision by modeling the behaviors they’d like to see teachers engaged in.