LEADING LIGHTS     Issue 2 | 2024

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Conference focus

Spotlighting speakers

Article by   Ann Briggs


Jacoba Matapo

Jacoba will take us into the conference theme of “Leading with Optimism” by exploring vibrant Pacific leadership concepts, weaving in the rich philosophies of the Pacific and their impact on the practice of optimism in educational leadership. This will be an insightful journey into how these unique perspectives enhance and redefine optimism in leadership!

Jacoba has ancestral ties to Siumu Samoa and Leiden Holland. She is the first Pro Vice-Chancellor Pacific at Auckland University of Technology. She is an Associate Professor in Pacific Early Childhood Education with over 15 years of experience in educational leadership, spanning ITE programme leadership, University leadership and leadership in ECE. Jacoba’s passion for Pacific education has stemmed from personal experience navigating cultural, political, and social tensions in her education and research journey. She has led key Pasifika education projects, anchoring Pacific philosophy and pedagogies for learner success. Her work advocates for the value of Pacific indigenous knowledge systems in education and the possibilities of transformation through relational ecologies, storytelling, and the art of embodied literacies.

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Expanding our leadership knowledge at NZEALS 2024

Leading well, Leading together, Leading with optimism

As the breakout sessions fill up at NZEALS 2024, the wealth of knowledge on offer is becoming apparent – and exciting. An underpinning philosophy of NZEALS is that we link findings from research to leadership practice. And in two- and-a-half days we have the chance to look at educational leadership practice through multiple lenses. The five keynote speakers and the three conference themes provide the inspiration and the structure for our korero. The 20-plus breakout sessions offer abundant ways of thinking about our leadership roles.

The submission process for breakout papers is ongoing, and we cannot feature all of the sessions accepted so far: they will be displayed on the conference website in the months leading up to the conference. But here is a glimpse of what is on offer.

Prof Patricia Briscoe, Dr Ann Lopez, Dr Ken Brien, Prof Mere Berryman, Prof Margaret Grogan USA, Canada, New Zealand

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Margaret Grogan

CCEAM Symposium: History, Hate, and Hope

Throughout the world, racism is a chronically obstinate problem, perpetuating exploitation, marginalization, oppression, and conflict. In this interactive session, participants will explore some of the historical underlying roots of racism from a global perspective, including the early days of religious wars, crusades, the Papal Bulls, the Doctrine of Discovery, etc. As members of the Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management (CCEAM), we must take up this topic because we are both colonizers and colonized collectively. The session speakers will focus on mindsets, strategies, and discursive possibilities that may bring hope and healing to our educational institutions and world.

The intent is for the audience to be interactive and to understand how some of these early ideologies have persisted until the 21st Century, resulting in hate and violence today. Hence, each presenter’s diverse perspectives and experiences are meant to provoke responses from participants rather than simply listening to a series of paper presentations. The session is intended to engage participants intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually to envision and create new understandings and approaches.

Prof Ross Notman New Zealand

Looking after ourselves as educational leaders: Lessons from the All Blacks and Les Misérables.

Leading well is often regarded as giving positive direction and purpose to others.

This presentation draws on research and lived experience to look at “Leading Well” by giving back to ourselves in a form of self-leadership and belief. It explores strategies on where we each stand in relation to our unique educational work context; dealing with emotional aspects of leading; understanding how we personally motivate others; and being true to the values that we live by.

The presentation concludes with parallel reflections on personal leadership issues within the All-Blacks last year, and resilience of the human spirit from the musical Les Misérables.

There will be an opportunity for presenter/audience interaction.

Dr Scott Lowrey and colleagues Canada

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Four emerging Indigenous scholarly practitioners, One Canadian institution:

Transformative narratives of leading, learning, and hope

Four emerging Indigenous scholarly practitioners share individual and collective reflections from their respective doctoral studies at Western University (London, Ontario, Canada).

Nicole’s research asked if curriculum goals and delivery can be adjusted to better align with an Indigenous mindset, focused on Etuaptmumk (two-eyed seeing) pedagogy.

Wayne’s research addressed a leadership challenge in the form of an inability for the Indigenous student population at Riverview to keep pace academically with their non-Indigenous peers.

Shelly’s research centered around a lack of preparation for leaders in schools to effectively incorporate Indigenous leadership approaches to positively impact school culture and impact achievement for Indigenous youth.

Lindy’s research focused on the development of meaningful and relevant practices in curriculum, pedagogy, and school-based leadership.

Juliette Hayes New Zealand

“Soul and role”: An optimistic look at authentic leadership

Juliette’s doctoral study explores the lived experiences of some New Zealand school leaders who hold a religious faith, and the impact this has had on their working lives. While their faith has had a profound influence on their personal and professional identity, their faith and their work have also encountered significant challenges, affecting their capacity to function as fully authentic leaders. They have experienced judgement, crises of faith, shame and even critical career changes when their “soul and role” are not aligned. They have also developed strategies, as their careers have progressed, to rise above the perceptions of others, and to reach a reconciliation between their personal faith and professional lives.

This session will lead participants to explore their own journey towards authentic leadership, through their own particular lens. Through workshopping indicators of authentic leadership and uncovering potential barriers to bringing your whole self to your work we will reach an optimistic view of bringing all of who we are to our leadership.

Dr Mohini Devi Fiji

Effective Leadership Style in Times of Crisis: A Fiji Case Study

Effective leadership is crucial in times of crisis management, as leaders must navigate complex and unpredictable situations to guide their organisations to safety and success. This study examined the leadership styles employed by
leaders in Fiji during times of crisis.

The findings of this study highlight the importance of adaptive leadership styles in times of crisis, as leaders must be able to respond quickly and decisively to changing circumstances. The study also identified the key characteristics of effective crisis leadership in Fiji, including transparency, empathy, collaboration, and resilience.

By understanding and applying the lessons learned from this research, leaders can enhance their ability to effectively navigate and overcome crises, ultimately leading to better outcomes for their organizations and communities. The session effectively addresses the conference themes - Leading well, Leading together,Leading with optimism - in the sense that during a crisis, leaders should be able to make sound decisions, work with a proactive and collaborative approach, and lead with a positive attitude. After the presentation, there will be time for question and answer.

Jenna Stone New Zealand

My journey through understanding and incorporating Te Maramataka into my everyday practices

In 2021, my journey into Māori Languages and Pedagogies commenced under the guidance of Aumiri Pounamu at the University of Canterbury. Subsequently, inspired by this knowledge, our team began incorporating elements of Māorilearning into our environment. Central to this addition is the concept of Mātauranga Māori, which embodies a Māori approach to existence and interaction with the world. At its core, it utilises kawa (cultural protocols) and tikanga (customary practices) to examine, evaluate, and comprehend the world around us. Mātauranga Māori offers diverse perspectives on knowledge acquisition and understanding.

As a leader within our team, I’ve embraced the role of both learner and teacher, recognizing that by sharing knowledge, we all grow together. I actively engage in ongoing learning, seeking feedback from my team and mentors, and continuously reflect on my practices to ensure alignment with Māori principles and values. This collaborative approach not only strengthens my own leadership skills but also fosters a sense of community and shared purpose within our team. This session will provide a glimpse into our journey of incorporating Te Maramataka - The Māori Lunar Calendar - into our daily routines and the planning of our kindergarten’s philosophy and everyday practices.

Dr Toby Holmes USA

Leading well and leading together with Motivating Language Theory and the Four Frame Model of Reframing Organizations

This interactive workshop, grounded in the principles of He Tángata (leading and working in the service of people, whanau, and the community), and Manaakitanga (respecting and caring for the people, whanau, and the community and listening to and involving them in our leadership), is designed to help educational leaders integrate leadership communications with the ability to reframe organizations. Specifically, the workshop is a hands-on application of three published manuscripts that take participants thorough the process of engaging in the Four-Frames of Reframing Organizations with Motivating Language Theory, so that leaders:

  • Can use an integrated framework for connecting the Four Frames and Motivating Language Theory
  • Can implement a leadership script to reframe organizational problems into solutions with leadership actions and communications
  • Can use a framework connecting Kotter’s Change Model with the Four Frames and Motivating Language Theory
  • Can implement a leadership decision-making sequence connecting the Four Frames and Motivating Language Theory
  • Can see the frameworks and resources provided through key Mãori principles.

Dr Debbie Ryder, Shelley Sugrue, Lauren Graham New Zealand

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Lauren Graham

Appreciative Inquiry: Leading an optimistic approach to professional practice.

In 2023, a group of tertiary teachers undertook an inquiry-based self-appraisal process, with the intention of supporting their future professional practice. This workshop will unpack the Appreciative Growth Cycle and the associated Appreciative Dispositions and their potential as a process of self-appraisal.

A key aspect of the process is the role of the leader in co-constructing an understanding of practice, where the outcome is to identify strengths-based aspirations and future goals. The workshop will provide insight into a leader’s perspective in facilitating the self-appraisal process of others. Time will be provided in the workshop for participants to engage with the Appreciative Growth Cycle and Appreciative Dispositions and explore ways in which these can be applied in the leadership of others.

Dr Venesser Fernandes Australia

Developing adaptability and agility in leadership amidst the COVID-19 crisis:

Experiences of mid-career school principals.

This research study builds on crisis leadership, adaptive leadership, agile leadership, and emotional intelligence constructs, exploring the leadership approaches undertaken by twenty mid-career principals in Victoria, Australia.

The main research question is, “What emotionally intelligent leadership approaches were identified in mid-career school principals during the COVID-19 global pandemic?”

The findings present four emergent types of emotionally intelligent leadership approaches undertaken by these principals. These leadership approaches are presented as the commander-leader, the conductor-leader, the gardener-leader and the engineer-leader, with each approach demonstrating both organisational leadership approaches and individual leadership styles used by these principals as they led their schools. These findings have implications for developing emotion training in teacher and principal preparation/professional development programs. The findings present insight into the supports useful for mid-career principals who have completed more than five years of principalship.

This research study fits the conference theme of Leading Well as it uses a unique emotional intelligence approach to understand the invisible labour of school leadership during and after a crisis, highlighting the importance of emotionally intelligent school principalship.