AASA School Solutions                                Page 43


Build a Brand of Education





Administrators often let their brand develop haphazardly. But the most respected brands — the ones that communicate education excellence — are intentional.

As the chief learning officer for Quantum Learning, an AASA School Solutions Center partner, I have helped many superintendents build their brand and understand how it’s important.

Brand Redefined
Your brand states the non-negotiables to which you are committed. The more clearly defined your values, the more pervasive and credible your brand will be.

Your brand, though, is only as good as your culture. Your brand is what you value above all else, and culture is the expression of that brand.

To ensure your culture reflects your brand, follow this simple axiom: Experiences shape our expectations; expectations shape our expressions.

Evaluating Brand
Begin by evaluating the things people say and do in your schools, at the district office and throughout the community. These are your expressions.

Let’s say your organization values excellence, good qualities in high degree. You would expect to see excellence embodied at every level. You would see teachers attending professional development, parents engaged at meetings, students thinking at higher levels, and real estate agents praising the quality of education in the community.

In this example, the expressions reflect the organization’s non-negotiable values. They reflect a brand of excellence.

Next, discern what the expressions say about expectations. Our expectations shape our expressions, which are the synthesis of our perceptions, perspectives, mindsets and beliefs.

In a district defined by excellence you would notice that decisions are made and problems solved through a mindset of excellence that permeates classrooms, staff rooms and board rooms.

Expectations are not willed into being. Our expectations are shaped by our experiences.

Everything Speaks
At Quantum Learning, we teach that “everything speaks.”

When a district’s meetings respect opinions, encourage solution finding, and are well-organized, attendees experience excellence. When classrooms buzz with curiosity, teachers acknowledge effort and everyone feels safe, kids are immersed in an experience that changes their perceptions about learning.

Nurturing the Brand
In the model we’ve presented, you build your brand by changing the interactions people have with and within the district.

This is accomplished from the inside out. Brands are built from the organization’s culture out to the community and from you out to the organization. You are your brand.

When you’re intentional with your brand, the positive effects will last for years to come.

To learn more about Quantum Learning: Development that Matters, visit www.quantumlearning.com.

Mark Reardon is chief learning officer of the Quantum Learning Network in Oceanside, Calif. He is the co-author of Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success. E-mail: mreardon@qln.com. Twitter: @QLEducation 


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