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The Human Side of Changing Education

The Human Side of Changing Education
How to Lead Change With Clarity, Conviction, and Courage

First Edition

Foreword by Arthur Levine

May 2018 | 152 pages | Corwin

Make change humanly possible 

Today’s schools know they must make problem solving, collaboration, self-directed learning and creativity an integral part of the school’s DNA, but they don’t always know how. 

When we ask schools to change, we are asking human beings to change. This requires special tools and a human-centered approach. In The Human Side of Changing Education, leaders will learn to make sense of their challenging change journeys and accelerate effective implementation. With this practical framework that includes human-centered tools, resources and mini case studies, readers will learn to navigate and succeed on their unique path of change. 

  • Understand why resistance is to be expected and how to get through it. 
  • Discover three different kinds of change strategies and when to use which one 
  • Learn how to use the “messy middle” of change, where real transformation happens 

Change the heart of the system by enabling the hearts and minds of those who make schools work.

"Julie Wilson is both a visionary and a pragmatist. Her book is a wonderfully clear and concise guide for leaders who seek to navigate the road to educational transformation."
Tony Wagner, Author
The Global Achievement Gap and Creating Innovators

 "If you want to understand what it takes to create innovative and lasting change, then forge ahead with The Human Side of Changing Education, and bravely create your own hero's journey. This is a valuable guide, with practical advice and real-life examples to support you in this very complicated and challenging work."
Ann Koufman-Frederick, Chief Academic Officer
LearnLaunch Institute, MAPLE

"If everyone working in U.S. K-12 education were to read this book and put even half of its thinking into practice, we would be well on our way to a far better society. It is timely, visionary, and relentlessly practical – a rare combination. Discover what our future could look like if enough of us dare to make it happen."
Andy Calkins, Director
Next Generation Learning Challenges at EDUCAUSE





Foreword by Arthur Levine
About the Author
Becoming Agents of Our Own Learning  
Schools That Support Human Development  
The Core of Change Is Learning  
Change Is a Developmental Task  
A Rising Tide of Consensus  
Worthy Skill 1: Self-Directed Learning  
Worthy Skill 2: Creativity and Innovation  
Worthy Skill 3: Planning, Adaptability, and Agility  
Worthy Skill 4: Strengths Awareness and Application  
Worthy Skill 5: Self-Efficacy  
Worthy Skill 6: Global Citizenship  
Worthy Skill 7: Relationship Building  
Worthy Skill 8: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving  
Key Points  
Questions for Reflection and Action  
The Pedagogy Needs to Reflect the Outcomes We Seek  
Changing Pedagogy Changes Your Culture  
Moving From the Industrial Educational Model to a Postindustrial Model  
What Kind of Change Is It?  
Differentiating Your Approach  
Key Points  
Questions for Reflection and Action  
Success Factor 1: Sustained Leadership and a Visionary School Board  
Success Factor 2: A Shared Vision of the Change  
Success Factor 3: Unleashing Talent and Building Teams  
Success Factor 4: Rethinking the Use of Time and Space  
Success Factor 5: Overhauling the Assessment Structure of Learning and School Performance  
Leading Transformative Change Requires Adult Development  
From Socialized Minds to Self-Authoring Minds  
Moving Away From the Patriarchal Model of Education  
Key Points  
Questions for Reflection and Action  
Success Factors in Action  
Strategy 1: Your Learning History  
Strategy 2: The Future: Where Would You Like to Go?  
Strategy 3: Building Organizational Change Capacity  
Strategy 4: Helping Others Through Change—The Power of Development  
Strategy 5: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint—Leading Through the Uncertainty of Change  
Strategy 6: Building Effective Teams  
Strategy 7: It Could Be a Library or . . .  
Strategy 8: Measuring What We Value  
Key Points  
Questions for Reflection and Action  
When You Are or Are Not in Charge  
The Hero’s Journey  
Stages of the Hero’s Journey  
The Hero’s Journey of Real People Like You  
Key Points  
Questions for Reflection and Action  
Getting Clear on Your “Why” and Taking Action  
Summary Questions for Reflection and Action  
Organizational Change Capacity Questionnaire  
Individual Development Plan  
The Strengths-Based Conversation  

Where other books focus on the what and why of school change, Julie Wilson’s book empowers leaders to deal with the human side of school change. Julie shares examples, tools, strategies, and resources to schools who are striving to change the paradigm to build schools of the future.

Bo Adams, Chief Learning and Innovation Officer; Executive Director
Mount Vernon Presbyterian School; Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation

I have seen Julie Wilson teach school leaders using the principles she captures here so clearly. This book will offer system-shifting school leaders the practical strategies, skills, dispositions, and tools they need to navigate successfully their journey to modernizing our schools.

David Monaco, Allen Meyer Family Head of School; Founding Partner
Parish Episcopal School; Center for Transformational LEadership

Transforming schools is truly a human endeavor. It requires a community commitment to a new set of student learning outcomes, as well as teachers and leaders willing to give students voice and choice over their own learning. Julie Wilson’s book is an essential guide to teachers and leaders ready to take on this challenge.

Tim Presiado, Chief Operating Officer
New Tech Network

Huge gratitude to Julie Wilson for illuminating such important dimensions of school transformation. The human side of change – leadership, culture, emotions, and process – can make or break any effort to build models of design that better prepare students to thrive in the 21st century. This book provides practical tools and inspiring stories from real practitioners who are leading change. A key read for anyone seeking to build the future of learning.

Jeff Wetzler, Co-Founder

Every now and then, a book comes out that has the power to not only inspire but to also instill change. Julie Wilson's, The Human Side of Changing Education is this book. If you are passionate about improving education (and yourself), read this as soon as you can. Weaving commentary from a variety of sources, Wilson masterfully merges research with practice and engages the reader in thoughtful reflections on the changing needs of education. This exceptional book not only asks why but gives the reader tools for how they can enact change on a personal and organizational level.

Susan Reinecke, Societal Advancement K-12 Faculty
Center for Creative Leadership

Julie Wilson’s practical insights for bringing the human element into school transformation face major obstacles in a school culture obsessed with data. Nonetheless, her insights deserve attentive reflection and action by every person looking for our children to be seen as flesh and blood learners instead of measurable numbers.

Jim Bellanca, Executive Director; Co-Editor Rethinking How Students Learn, 21st Century Skills; Senior Fellow
Illinois Consortium for 21st Century Skills; Rethinking How Students Learn, 21st Century Skills; P21

With clarity and grace, Julie Wilson guides educators through the difficult task of unlearning the old habits and lessons of the past to create schools that cultivate the post-industrial skills our students need.  She models the innovative thinking and processes required to create the schools our students and society deserve.

Ethan R. Cancell, Executive Director
Brockton School District; Assessment, Accountability, Technology & Student Data Research

For educators to facilitate and sustain meaningful school change, they must first embody the change they envision for their students. Julie Wilson’s book provides a solid explanation of the change process and practical tools for individuals who seek to not only transform the world of education but transform themselves as well.

Amy Timmins, Teacher
Lexington, MA

"A call to arms. This book not only provides a great platform for schools or districts to intimate conversations about change, but lays out an easy to follow scaffold on which an action plan can be developed."

Ray Boyd, Principal
West Beechboro Independent Primary School, Beechboro, Western Australia

“Very engaging. Offers practical advice to educators who want to be change leaders. I felt enthused and motivated after reading it. Julie Wilson conveys there are no quick fixes.”

Louis Lim, Vice-Principal
Bayview Secondary School, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Key features

This book is all about how to affect the human side of change to convince educators that change is doable and necessary.


·         A downloadable roadmap

·         Key points summarized at the end of each chapter

·         Questions for reflection and action at the end of each chapter

·         A list of free resources, tools, and useful websites

·         Mini case-studies

·         Dialog excerpts with change practitioners

·         Graphic illustrations that distill key content in an engaging way

·         A ‘human-centered’ change checklist

Sample Materials & Chapters

Sample Material

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ISBN: 9781506398532

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