Jerod A. Phillips

Cedar Lane Elementary School
Middletown, Delaware

Best Practices

1) A best practice that is one of my core values in instructional leadership is to focus on teaching and learning instead of test scores. A book that I read for fun 7 years ago, The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership, really enlightened me to aspects of leadership that are transferrable to our profession. This book was about Coach Bill Walsh’s unique leadership style, which lead to his San Francisco 49ers teams winning six division titles, three NFC Championship titles, and three Super Bowls. He did not focus on winning at all costs or securing the most sought after players. He stuck to his philosophy of focusing on the small details of the game every day at practice and his staff being cohesive. That is my belief when it comes to teaching and learning. The daily instructional decisions in the classroom is what matters in learning. This best practice is synonymous with a school leader possessing a high level of dedication to clinical supervision. The number one priority of a school leader is student achievement, with an underlying emphasis of it happening in a safe environment for students. I strive to spend the bulk of my time building and maintaining collegial relationships daily with staff through consistent feedback on instructional practices and their classroom environment. Focusing on teaching and learning in an instructional leadership capacity entails helping staff to set concise goals for themselves and help them along the way to achieving those goals, which in tum help students to achieve.

2) Another best practice that is one of my core values in instructional leadership is to never stop learning. One area of learning is qualitative feedback from stakeholders. I have a huge emphasis on listening to stakeholders to gather information and gauge the perspective that they have on our school. This helps us in to making informed and data based decisions as a result of the meaningful conversations held with stakeholders. Covid-19’s impact on education has reminded our profession of this best practice as we have had to pivot in professional learning almost weekly. The technology-related skills that I have gained pre-Covid has been beneficial this past year. Many of the instructional and leadership strategies that I have gained over the past several years have resulted from the professional learning networks that I have established with dynamic educators worldwide. I can show teachers how that stretching their thinking and instructional practices beyond their comfort level and what they have always done will help their students to soar to unprecedented heights while invigorating their career and love for education.