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About Deb Johnston Educational Philosophy and Leadership Platform
Educational Philosophy and Leadership Platform

Educational Philosophy

Like constructivist, John Dewey, I believe that learning takes place when learners construct knowledge for themselves, not just the memorization of facts and ideas. As the learner experiences and explores through hands-on learning opportunities and becomes an active participate in his/her learning through experimenting and manipulating the objects of the world is when real understanding takes places. This hands-on approach to learning provides opportunities for students to be problem-solvers during the learning process, at which time the learner will construct knowledge through his/her personal experience.

With this learning theory in mind, as an administrator, my goal is to create an environment where the student becomes involved in the learning process by becoming an active participate.  The educational environment provides vast opportunities for students to explore the world around them as well as themselves. The role of the teacher is to instruct and facilitate the learning process by providing guidance and opportunities for all students to reach his/her highest level of academic and creative achievement. I believe, through this approach, all students can learn and become contributing citizens in society. 

An educational leader needs go build community though bringing everyone in their organization together to share in a common vision. However, this is not an easy task. It requires leaders to have the five components of emotional intelligence, the ability to motivate others, demonstrated listening skills, great teams, the acceptance of creativity, the ability to implement change, the utilization of technology, and authenticity.

Educational Platform

As an Ethical Leader, I will establish an environment and culture of high ethical standards.  I will live and model ethical behavior and expect the same in return. My decision making is based on my core values of right and wrong and decisions will be determined by what is best for the institution, the students, the faculty and the community.  I use The Seven-Step Path to Better Decisions by Michael Josephson to help guide my decision making process so it is fair and ethical. The institution, faculty and the students will always come first. I will be honest and fair.

 As a Quality Leader, I will work with the faculty to create a strategic plan with measurable objectives for continuous improvement and implementation of the district’s mission. Maintaining high academic standards and student achievement will be a primary goal.  I have experience creating a strategic plan, goals, objectives and an action plan for Adrian College’s Social Networking.  The goals and objectives should be evaluated every six months for continuous improvement.

Adrian College Strategic Plan for Social Networking

I also created a school portfolio that contained student assessments, dropout rates vs. graduation rates and other data to drive interventions for school improvement.

As a Technology Leader, I will work to keep technology upgraded and current. I will also work at implementing staff development workshops to keep staff current with the new technology and software programs so we can always be on the cutting edge of technology. I will support all departments seeking funding for new software and technology programs that will enhance and provide enrichment for students.  As a life-long learner; I continue to take classes that will advance my skills and abilities while staying up to date with the latest technology, materials and techniques. Most recently, I have taken Digital Photography and Graphic Arts to learn the new Creative Suites 4 (CS4) program for Photoshop, Illustrator, and In-design.

As a Cultural Leader, I will build relationships within the school culture and the community by facilitating dialogues that create respect and trust for an equitable community by encouraging the sharing of ideas. An open-door policy will promote cooperation and understanding.

In Florida, I assisted implementing a single-school culture policy for tardiness. Teachers shared ideas for a school policy need, and together decided on the tardy policy. They felt they had a voice and it was their idea, therefore there was cooperation in its implementation. The sharing of ideas made the teachers feel they mattered.  Valuing and rewarding other’s productivity and contributions will help create a culture of respect. (Making announcements at gathers/meetings about the good things, birthdays, rewards, recognitions, engagements, etc., going on in people’s lives is an example of what I like to do).

As Goleman states in his book Primal Leadership (2002),  a movement toward honesty and toward sharing of information and knowledge so that people at all levels of the company feel included and able to make the best possible decisions”(p.58).  An emotional intelligence approach will build a strong, trusting community.

As a Service Leader, I will always be willing to do my part to help others be successful. I will always listen to the needs of the staff and faculty, and to the best of my ability, try to meet their needs provide the necessary support systems and resources so employees can be successful at reaching their goals and fulfilling the purpose and vision of the institution. My personal mission is to help others reach their goals.  student teacher letter  As a volunteer communications team leader at my church I developed communication plans pieces to help other teams achieve their goals. These skills will be a great assist in any leadership position.

 Communications Plan W3  Communication Piece – Art work

As an Instructional Leader, I am the lead teacher and will model behavior I expect from others. I have been a teacher for 23 years, a department chairperson, mentor teacher, and a cooperating teacher for five student teachers. I will lead the faculty in developing curriculum needed to meet the needs of students so they can reach their highest level of individual achievement. As a team, we will develop a methodology that will provide the opportunity for the school to reach its goals and meet the State standards. My experience as a teacher, presenter at state conventions, faculty and staff development workshops developed the necessary skills and competencies I need to be an instructional leader.

As an Authentic Leader, I will lead by example and model respect through professionalism and honestly communicate the purpose and core values of the institution. This behavior is critical for developing open lines of communication. I will also assist and participate at all levels and treat everyone equally. As department chair and a cooperating teacher, I would always be honest with the people I supervised and would tell him/her what he/she needed to do improve and what he/she was doing well. I am a person of high integrity and will treat others with consideration and respect to create an environment where individuals are comfortable to discuss sensitive issues and feelings openly and honestly without fear of criticism.  

As a Visionary Leader, I will create organizational direction and a clear vision, or picture, of change for a more successful future. I will creatively communicate the picture of what the future looks like when everyone consistently works together on achieving the goals, purpose and core values of the institution. I will communicate the mission, vision and goals of the school district to inspire others. Creating opportunities for the faculty and staff to provide input about the vision will gain their support because they will be a part of it and more likely be committed to the vision.  I was the coordinator of a school and community project called N.I.C.E/ P.A.R.C (Neighborhood Interaction and Community Education) (People Activity and Recreation Centers). The project started with a vision to unify the school and the community through the construction of a student’s sculpture into a sculpture in a city park. After a two-year process of planning and the development of community partners, the sculpture was fabricated and installed in the park. A vision becomes a reality through dedication and clear communication. NICE PARC

Deborah-Johnston12  Leadership Platform PowerPoint