LEADING LIGHTS     Issue 1 | 2021

Murray Fletcher


Welcome to this edition of Leading Lights

   Dr. Murray Fletcher

Developing the worldview in children. Kids get influenced by their parents or teachers of how they see the world around them, either positive or negative

Ngā mihi nui ki a whānau O NZEALS

Whakapūpūtia mai ō mānuka, kia kore ai e whati

Cluster the branches of the mānuka, so they will not break.

(Unite with a basic philosophy and know which direction to go)

The whakatauki above really indicates to me how important it is to have and hold to a philosophy as a platform from which to lead. As an organisation NZEALS exists to ‘grow leadership’.

In this editiorial I explore some thoughts being voiced globally and nationally before placing the emphasis on local leadership-in-action, as we hear the voices of leaders in different contexts across our country.

We have come to appreciate Michael Fullan’s pragmatic and global focus on education as he provides us with an overview and forecast for educational direction as he sees it. Fullan’s writing Developing Humanity (2016), The Principalship Has Changed (2018) and The Right Drivers for System Success (2021) each provide an insight into shifts in thinking in response to a changing world, one that we are all experiencing.

For him it is “leadership of a special kind (that) is required” (2018, p.18), that is a connection to the real world, leadership that mobilizes the masses to engage with the world, leading outward and upward, that is leading within schools, centres, communities, whānau whilst proactively influencing policy direction outside each institution.

In his writing The Right Drivers for System Success, (recommended reading by the way) he places emphasis on the "Human Paradigm” (p.5) focused on Wellbeing and Learning, Social Intelligence, Equality Investments and Systemness. This he stresses interacts with what he terms the ‘Bloodless Paradigm’, that which is focused on Academics Obsession, Machine Intelligence, Austerity, Fragmentation; that is the two paradigms working together. Fullan sees the global emphasis on literacy and numeracy as necessary yet insufficient in themselves, in today’s world. What he places alongside the emphasis on being literate and numerate are the more global competences which include critical thinking and collaboration.

Doing and being in balance - pictured as a scale and words Doing, being - to symbolize desired harmony between Doing and being in life, 3d illustrationI would make the same comment about the act of leading and of being a leader. There needs to be strength in one’s professional practice, having both pedagogical and curriculum knowledge, an understanding of how to guide processes in action, especially in regards to collaboration and an unrelenting focus on learner outcomes. These are all really important, yet there is another layer, that which I term (as others do) the person in the professional, that is what is inside, what can be termed the personal and one’s Way of Being. This is key if we really have a grasp of Wellbeing and Hauora and a possess a personal resiliency. As an organisation we focus on this in our Forums introduced in this edition.

I have recently come across these ideas

  • How can we be groups with moral courage?
  • How can we change the trajectories of those we serve?
  • How can we see the forest and the trees?
  • How might we handle the ‘tsunami’ of initiatives expected to be undertaken?
  • What might leadership in the service of transformation be like?

For me it is important that we as leaders continue to explore other layers which include indigenous voices that offer another wisdom. We are indebted to those who guide us in considering worldviews that might be different from our own. Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann AM offers us the term “dadirri”, meaning “inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness”. The late Dr Rose Pere’s notion of Te Wheke sits alongside Dr. Mason Durie’s holistic view, both placing Mātauranga Māori at the heart. Dr. Ann Milne takes us into examining our conscious and unconscious cultural biases whilst Spiller, Barclay-Kerr and Panoho explore a cultural wisdom that has been handed down to us: one that assists us navigate in our current world.

As we focus on the Teaching Council of Aotearoa / New Zealand Educational Leadership Capability Framework and Professional Growth Cycles (for those in leadership and well as teaching roles) we are challenged to take responsibility for our own self and to know ourselves, as we each attend to our own learning and wellbeing as leaders, and I would add, as human beings.

In this issue:

  • The Executive and Council of NZEALS welcome you to 2021 with a note from Dr. Anne Malcolm
  • We have captured the voices of leaders-in-action from across the country. They talk about how they have approached 2021 after the experiences of the last year.
  • We celebrate and recognise Dr.Barry Brooker from Canterbury as he is made Fellow of NZEALS (FNZEALS).
  • Dr. Ann Briggs introduces us to the Forums which we invite you to engage with and also writes about how we as an organisation prepare for the future in terms of future- proofing.
  • The issue concludes with examples recommended by leaders from their reading and viewing and a review of the book by Professor Carolyn Shields - Becoming a Transformative Leader: A Guide to Creating Equitable Schools.

I wish you insightful reading.

Kā mihi mahana

Dr. Murray Fletcher (Editor)


Milne, A. (2016). Colouring in the White Spaces: Reclaiming Cultural Identity in Whitestream Schools. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

Spiller, C., Barclay-Kerr, H. and Panoho, J. (2015). Wayfinding Leadership: Ground breaking Wisdom for Developing Leaders. Wellington, NZ: Huia Publishers.

Fullan, M. (2018). The Principalship has Changed. Principal Connections. Fall. Volume 22. No.1. The-Principalship-Has-Changed-M.Fullan.pdf (michaelfullan.ca)

Fullan, M. (2021). The Right Drivers for Whole System Success - NCEE

Pere, R. (2015). Te Wheke. https://aoakogloballearning.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/RosePTeWheke.pdf

Ungunmerr-Baumann, M. (2021). https://www.thelivingwater.com.au/blog/dadirri-our-greatest-gift-to-australia-says-indigenous-elder-and-2021-senior-australian-of-the-year