Leading Change Together

Adult development . . . in schools? Yes. In fact, understanding and sharing ideas–and implementing practices–that help adults explore experiences and assumptions is a powerful driver of school change. Eleanor Drago-Severson and Jessica Blum-DeStefano share expertise that has evolved from their many decades of research and work with educators and show you how to

  • Deepen your understanding of adult development and its role in systemic and schoolwide change and educational improvement,
  • Connect theory to practice with developmentally oriented structures and strategies that enhance collaboration, communication, and feedback,
  • Support individual and, organizational growth with a differentiated approach to leadership and capacity building, and
  • Build trust, capacity, collegiality, and sustainability with developmental practices that meet adult needs.

Whether you work in a school, district, university, educational institution, or other learning organization, you’ll learn how to infuse leadership, collaboration, communication, and capacity building with a deep understanding of individuals’ experiences and capacities–and how they influence our day-to-day work. Leading Change Together explains how you and other adult learners can effect tremendous change in schools and systems.

leading change together


It’s All in How You Say It: Ellie Drago-Severson on the Power and Pitfalls of Feedback

Published by Teachers College Newsroom December 2017, take a moment to read It’s All in How You Say It: Ellie Drago-Severson on the Power and Pitfalls of Feedback

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From the Journal of Staff Development August 2015, take a moment to read Drago-Severson & Blum-Stefano (2015) Make Time to Recharge.


Usable Knowledge: Feedback that Works


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Harvard Pocket Knowledge highlights Dr. Drago-Severson and Dr. Blum-Stefano’s book and feedback for growth. Read more by clicking here.


Harvard EdCast: How to Give Good Feedback

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On June 1, 2016, Dr. Drago-Severson was the guest speaker on Harvard EdCat with Matt Weber to share about how to give developmental feedback. Hear more by clicking here.

“The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.”


Tell Me So I Can Hear

Tell Me SO I Can Here

In Tell Me So I Can Hear You, Eleanor Drago-Severson and Jessica Blum-DeStefano show how education leaders can learn to deliver feedback in a way that strengthens relationships as well as performance and builds the capacity for growth. Drawing on constructive-developmental theory, the authors describe four stages of adult growth and development and explain how to differentiate feedback for colleagues with different “ways of knowing,” which include:

• Instrumental knowers, who tend to see things in black and white (“Did I do it right or wrong?”) and may need to develop the capacity for reflection.
• Socializing knowers, who are concerned with maintaining relationships (“What do you want me to do?”) and may need support developing their own ideas.
• Self-authoring knowers, who have strong ideologies and values (“How does this fit with my goals and vision?”) and may need help with perspective taking.
• Self-transformative knowers, who are able to examine issues from multiple points of view (“How can I understand this more deeply?”) and may need guidance in resolving tensions and contradictions.

The authors show how leaders can provide feedback in ways that “meet people where they are” while expanding the developmental capacities educators bring to their work. Drago-Severson and Blum-DeStefano provide real-life examples with practical strategies for creating a safe space for feedback, finding the right words, and bridging feedback and action. Tell Me So I Can Hear You offers invaluable guidance to help educators support a culture of learning in classrooms, schools, and districts.


Helping Educators Grow: The Book Talk

Learn more about Professor Drago-Severson’s best-selling book Helping Educators Grow through a book talk she did at Teachers College, Columbia University.


Published on Nov 18, 2014

Writes Eleanor Drago-Severson, Associate Professor of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, “How can we help aspiring and practicing leaders develop the internal capacities they need to teach, learn, and lead in the increasingly complex environment that constitutes the field of education today?” In Helping Educators Grow: Strategies and Practices for Leadership Development (Harvard Education Press, 2012), Drago-Severson presents a new learning-oriented model of leadership development that draws on twenty-five years of teaching and research with educators from around the world. Favoring the creation of professional learning environments that fully support adult growth, she presents and elaborates on a valuable conceptual framework based on the core elements of care, respect, trust, collaboration, and intentionality.”

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