"Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance."
- Will Durant
Evidence Based Practice and Study of Implementation Practices
The study of leadership in education in the United States is over 60 years long. Looking back, it is clear that the search by leaders for effectiveness, outcomes, order, meaning and results spans all six decades. The field of school administration and the study of superintendent leadership shows progress, however, the foundation remains weak (Willower & Forsyth, 1999).
One promising approach emerging in the education field is the study of evidence-based research joined with the study of implementation practice.
Mark Wolak, Co-Founder of the Board of School Superintendents (BOSS), was recognized by the Minnesota State Superintendent Association (MASA) as the Richard Green Scholar for Minnesota in 2007.Through his research of leadership practice, he offers a working definition for evidence-based practice:
Evidence-based leadership practice is the linking of research with the study of implementation practice to achieve improved outcomes for students (Wolak 2007).
Many active superintendents will express their personal dismay about the complexities of changing the systems, i.e., structures, processes and so forth, in public education. Often, the superintendent engaged in these challenging situations is looking for advice and experiences of other superintendents who have similar experiences. State associations are limited in the scope of what their staff can offer. University programs and national centers may offer information but lack the active superintendent network. No national centersupported by the federal governmentexists solely to provide for the learning needs of public school superintendents.
Today, there is no national organization that provides a sustained and effective structure for coaching and mentoring of superintendents. In addition, there is no one organization developing the rich store of research and implementation practice and making it accessible to active superintendents in a manner that is timely and with skilled advice.
We designedBOSS to meet these unmet needs for active superintendents. Weidentify and storeuseful evidence-based practices, collect studies of implementation practice,collectinsights shared by superintendents, provide opportunities for networking, and provide high quality coaching and mentoring to grow the collective capacity among school superintendents.