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Press April 18, 2020

Leading in a Time of Crisis – a Conversation with Principal Zaharah Valentine

“I believe that when you don’t ask adults what they need, that often translates to how they support students. So I think it’s really important as a leader, that you model self care with staff so that that translates to when they speak with students.”

The Fund for Educational Excellence recently interviewed Principal Zaharah Valentine for their ‘Getting Unstuck’ series. Principal Valentine describes the challenges she knew were imminent, and how she strategigally prepared for school closure and distance learning.


“For other school leaders I would add, don’t be afraid to manage up. Many of our district leaders are understandably disconnected from what’s occurring at the school-level. Some of the policies or expectations may not quite align to the real work. Speak up with a solution! It’s easy to find an issue, it’s more skillful and solutions-oriented if you see a problem of practice and couple it with a solution. If not, save your criticism.”


Today on Getting Unstuck

Most of us are living in an unprecedented time. Not since World War II, have we experienced something that can literally impact every person on the planet. Getting through the COVID-19 pandemic is taking incredible resources and resourcefulness. It is also forcing us to look at one another and work with one another differently. And one place of work where that is extremely evident is in schools, here in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K..

What follows is one conversation in a series of conversations we’re having with educators across the country on how they are leading their schools in this time of crisis. Because these educators are extremely busy helping their schools and communities to pivot, we’ve intentionally limited these conversations to 15 minutes.

It’s our hope that these conversations will provide nuggets of solid advice and emotional support to other educators on the front lines of change.

A faculty member’s self-care plan has three components.

1. How you taking care of yourself?

2. How are you taking care of the ones you love?

3. How are you aligning your efforts and your time to support the scholars at Baltimore design school?

— Principal Zaharah Valentine

In this episode we hear from:

Zaharah Valentine:
Principal at the Baltimore Design School
Baltimore, MD

Listen for:

Beyond coordinating the logistics of online instruction, the work is all about… Click to listen.