gcLi’s Leadership Blog brings the best practices and most pressing research pertinent to the pedagogy of leadership to teachers and administrators. We believe that leadership can–and must–be taught every day to students in schools.


Storytelling: A Pathway to Leadership and Purpose

Being a speaker at the gcLi Symposium was a surreal experience for me because I barely passed high school and didn’t finish college until my early thirties. I’d never been on an Ivy League campus before, but here I was, surrounded by the University of Pennsylvania’s prestige and Ph.Ds...


Cultivating Public Purpose & Leadership Development at Rye Country Day School

While attending the gcLi Leadership Lab in June, I began to see leadership as the development of character with an outward-facing lens – an active process of putting awareness, empathy, and courage into practice for a greater purpose beyond one’s individual experience. These ideas resonated with the way I’ve come to understand community engagement and service learning. Our public purpose approach at Rye Country Day School emphasizes service as a way of life rather than an hourly requirement. This philosophy underscores our commitment to making...


Benefitting From a Brilliant Partnership

I can thank the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute for many things, but perhaps the biggest impact gcLi had on my life was the introduction to the Master of School Leadership Program through the University of Pennsylvania. The head of the program, Dr. Earl Ball, was the keynote speaker when I attended the leadership lab in 2013. My interest in further developing my career in education led me to apply to UPenn’s Graduate School of Education three years later. At the leadership lab that year, I...


Drinking From the Firehose at the gcLi Symposium

During the opening session of the gcLi Symposium on Building Cultures of Leadership, Dr. Ted Fish, Executive Director,  highlighted the two core elements of gcLi’s culture: collaboration and feedback. Those of us who have attended the Leadership Lab know how fundamental both these elements are to the experience. We can also all agree, though, that Dr. Fish left out a critical third element of the gcLi culture: drinking from...


Reflecting on the gcLi Leadership Symposium II

In her seminar, Compassionate and Courageous Leaders, Dr. Brooke Lavelle of the Courage of Care Coalition projected pictures of people. We identified the people and adjectives to describe them: Nelson Mandela (forgiving); Martin Luther King, Jr. (fearless); Desmond Tutu (generous). As their photos scrolled before me, I considered these lives and wondered how I could get the courage to enact on the compassion I feel...


An Interview with Catherine Steiner-Adair and JoAnn Deak, gcLi Institute Scholars

It’s not often that classroom teachers get to spend not just hours—but whole, successive days—unfolding with Masters of Psychology and Pedagogy. And not just in the lecture hall but in settings that are up close and personal. It’s an ideal learning environment and a stunning opportunity that now presents itself to attendees of gcLi’s Leadership Lab. For the gcLi has on its resident faculty two world-recognized experts on teaching and learning, psychology and leadership. Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, a Research Associate at Harvard Medical School, and...


Leadership Check-Up: How’s the Health of Your Leadership Culture?

In this season of back-to-school check lists, parents often place at the top “schedule physical,” as a reminder for the essential, annual process of formally evaluating their child’s health. As I walked out of our pediatrician’s office this summer, my seven-year-old asked why her school needed “proof” she was healthy. I shared with her that taking care of our bodies and practicing healthy habits means that we can to be ready to learn and grow. But, if there is something our body is telling us...


“Why Won’t They Simply Do What I Tell Them to?” And Other Questions I Have about Teaching Leadership

Jeremy LaCasse, Assistant Head of School, Taft School

How often have we seen situations in schools where the outcome of an activity seems more important than the process? Take the yearbook for example: how many yearbooks—ostensibly student created publications—are being produced by the faculty? How many dances, how many newspapers, how many events, which could or should easil...


Student Leadership in Action: From Community Engagement to Community Builders

Ryan Hoglund, Director of Ethical Education, Rowland Hall

While community engagement is an important component of the Rowland Hall curriculum, in junior year, the opportunity to distinguish oneself as a community builder is possible. Rowland Hall juniors identify and research a global, local, or internal issue they feel strongly about, then volunteer for an organization associated with their topic. Dubbed Project 11, this experience entails more than clocking service hours. Rowland Hall supports juniors by providing the resources to design and implement a solution. Faculty designed...


Mindfulness Training and the Development of Healthy Leaders

Ted Fish, PhD, Executive Director, Gardner Carney Leadership Institute

If you’ve ever seen Dr. JoAnn Deak, Founding Institute Scholar of the gcLi, present about the brain, then you know that she has one of the most impressive collections of rubber bands on the planet. They are thick and thin; short and long; yellow, red, blue, and brown. They squiggle in three heaping bags. And they convey one of the central tenets of the pedagogy of leadership, a neurological principle that—if understood—is sufficient to revolutionize...