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Shifting the conversation

Society is evolving at a rapid pace, however our children deserve an education that is truly innovative and supports their vision for the future. With public education under the microscope in terms of political legislation, educational reform, and technological advancements, we seek to redefine what a “good education” truly is.

It is time for North Carolina school leaders to define innovative school leadership for North Carolina schools. By shifting the conversation, we strive not only to redefine innovation in the public education arena, but to show educators what that innovation looks like in schools, in the classroom, and in the community.

Baruti Kafele, award-winning author, educational consultant, and motivational speaker states that “as a principal, you must think: ‘I’m a leader. I’m a provider. I’m a nurturer. I’m an encourager…I am the number one determinant to the success or failure of my school.'”

Academic research shows that school leaders who are intrinsically inspired and emotionally motivated to do better create better learning environments for students, better working conditions for teacher leaders, and better partnerships with stakeholders who can support the vision. The time is now for North Carolina administrators to have a platform that assists in creating schools that children deserve. The time is now to shift the conversation.

We have shifted the conversation twice this school year, both at Methodist University and at Meredith College, bringing together like-minded educational professionals with a passion and purpose for innovating schools for our most important clients — our students. Over the course of these two half-day sessions, teacher leaders, school leaders, and district leaders gathered to tackle topics including:

  • Instructional feedback for growing teacher leaders
  • Social equity in the classroom
  • Bridging the gap between school and district leaders
  • Distributive leadership tips and tidbits
  • Mental health disparities in North Carolina schools

As leaders captured their greatest takeaways from these conversations, the team at RE-Brand NC Education will be working to convert those takeaways into interactive blog topics for the platform in order to spark further discussion and exploration for its viewers.

Oftentimes, administrators are presented with ideas of innovation, but never presented with the “how” to implement. RE-Brand NC Education creates a platform for school and district leaders to access ideas that are currently being implemented in schools where change agents are seeing results. Not only do we provide leaders with the resources, information, and examples, but we also provide implementation support by putting a face to the innovation. We know that in order for leaders to grow teachers and students, we must be willing to share and collaborate with others. Each story of re-branding gives readers an opportunity to contact innovative leaders and receive implementation support.

Some of our stories include Jason Griffin, former Wells Fargo NC Principal of the Year; Dr. Sandy Chambers, Principal at Hortons Creek Elementary; and Kelly Harvell, Family Engagement Coordinator in Wake County Public Schools. Our goal is for RE-Brand NC Education to become the go-to resource for North Carolina school leaders to collaborate, connect, and cultivate innovative conversations that transform North Carolina schools.

The next shift will be happening September 8, 2018 at NC State University to kick off the 2018-19 school year, and we want to invite North Carolina school leaders from across the state to get involved. Our Back-to-School Shifting the Conversation will be a time to renew our energies before the school year ahead, collaborate and network with innovative thinkers from across the state, and help develop the much-needed platform for school leaders to be heard. There will also be some major giveaways from our sponsors to help school leaders start the school year in style.

We look forward to this journey of re-branding education for North Carolina schools and shifting the conversation to highlight the innovation that our students truly deserve.

Read more about RE-Brand NC Education and its founders at

Yasmeen Robbins

Yasmeen Robbins has spent 12 years in public education. She received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from North Carolina State University. Robbins spent eight years as a classroom teacher in the Cumberland County school district, where she was involved in the Governor’s Teachers Network, and conducted action research for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She later received a Masters in Education with a focus in Literacy from Methodist University.

As a K-5 Instructional coach for the past four years, Robbins has been working to build, support, and maintain teacher capacity. She recently completed her Masters in School Administration at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke as a North Carolina Sandhills Leadership Program participant. Robbins has a passion for education and strives to do what is best for all students.

Mary M. Hemphill, Ph.D.

Dr. Mary Hemphill is the state’s first director of K-12 Computer Science & Technology Education at the NC Department of Public Instruction.