What's Kenneth Huff's Why?

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Kenneth Huff, NBCT

Early Adolescence Science

Presidential Award  for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST)

Williamsville CSD 

Why Transformational Leadership

As National Board-Certified Teachers (NBCT’s), we have likely realized leadership goes beyond
the classroom walls. Most of us are likely involved in policy and/or decision-making at some
level. We have a voice in and work toward improvement and transformation in a school, district,
or within professional associations. In whatever district you work, or community you reside,
there are also other shareholders with whom you collaborate in bringing fresh ideas and new
perspectives to the effort. For this edition of Featured NBCT, I will discuss:

  • Why I Focus on Leadership

  • Why Leadership is Important for NBCT’s

  • How Your Leadership Contributes to Moving Education Forward

  • Why I Focus on Transformational Leadership


Pulitzer winning author James McGregor Burns, in his 1978 classic Leadership, stated leadership
is inducing followers to act for certain goals that represent the values and motivations-the needs
and the wants, the aspirations and expectations-of both leaders and followers. Burns also stated
the genius of leadership lies in the manner which leaders see and act on their own and their
followers’ values and motivations. As NBCT’s, we have a leadership role in nurturing the
wants, aspirations, and expectations of those who also seek to improve classroom teaching and
student achievement.

Leadership as NBCT’s requires communicating the Five Core Propositions-What Teachers
Should Know and Be Able to Do to those who also share responsibility for transformation.
Therefore, all individuals associated with education must contribute to communicating the
research into how students learn. NBCT’s are essential in this process of transformation and as
professional teachers, we understand the scale of this task.

Why Transformational Leadership is Important for NBCT’s
The Five Core Propositions represent a great opportunity to teach in a way that prepares our
students for an ever-changing world. In achieving national board status, we know that reflection
and then transformation of our teaching can be difficult. When we accept the diverse views of
our students and respect the background experiences they bring to the classroom, we model for
others how as NBCT’s we are also ship builders-relationships, scholarship, partnerships,

Education is constantly in a state of flux. However, we cannot let a changing landscape and what
is hard get in the way of what is right. The beneficiaries of our leadership are our students, the
future citizens of our society. Leadership is key in successful transformation in education. We
can turn our expectations for a better tomorrow into actions that make a difference for our
students. Leadership is important for us as NBCT’s because it is a mechanism that we bring to
the various components of transformation in education in ways that will improve K-12 teaching
and learning.

How Your Transformational Leadership Contributes to Moving Education Forward
We have choices as we consider the opportunity to step forth and lead. With our choices, we
may also have questions, uncertainties, anxiety, and even fear about making the choice to do
something new or different. It takes courage to thoughtfully present new ideas and make the
choice to move education forward and provide leadership. Examples of courage include
mentoring a colleague contemplating national board certification, providing professional
development to colleagues about an instructional sequence based upon research, or sharing
innovations of your teaching disciplines state standards with parents and PTSA groups in your
community. These are all examples of how NBCT’s contribute to moving education forward.

Achieving transformation in education will require leadership from throughout the entire system.
Our state of New York, its regions, and communities, should not place the entire weight of this
transformation solely on elementary, middle, and high school teachers. Much good work has
already taken place among shareholder groups. As National Board-Certified Teachers, we
continue to transform ourselves and help others transform so all students can achieve at their
highest level.