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About Galileo

The Galileo Institute for Teacher Leadership is dedicated to improving the learning of all students, elevating the education profession, enhancing the leadership skills of teachers, and fulfilling the vital role of public education in achieving a civil, prosperous and democratic society. The commitment to the concept of developing teacher leaders, to defining what teacher leadership is and why it is so important is at the heart of the institute.

Since 2005, the Galileo Institute has supported the advancement of teacher leadership through a variety of projects and initiatives. The Galileo Institute also serves as a partner to the Galileo Teacher Leadership Academy, a 29 district consortium that has prepared more than 900 Southeast Michigan teacher leaders since its founding in 1997.

As an influential Michigan university in the preparation of teachers and the development of educational leaders, Oakland University and the Galileo Institute are committed to:

  • Teaching - Preparing educational leaders who understand the importance of shared leadership and aim to develop teacher leaders.
  • Involvement - Dedicated support and encouragement to schools and school districts that are interested and committed to expanding teacher leadership opportunities for faculty.
  • Transformation - Current and past initiatives like the Rochester Community Schools Deep Learning Workshops, Avondale Teacher Lab partnership, the South Macomb cultural proficiency project, and continued development of teacher leadership in Pontiac, Farmington, Bloomfield Hills, and West Bloomfield schools illustrate the scope of the institute’s outreach efforts.
  • Scholarship - Conducting and disseminating the latest research for education practitioners to continue to evolve the work of teacher leadership.

Our Vision: Today

The Galileo Institute is a collaborative model for educational change that acknowledges teachers as vital change agents in the educational mission to improve student achievement. The institute promotes the study and application of models of leadership and best practices.

The Galileo Institute is a response to the continuing challenge to ensure high-quality teachers in every public school classroom. With the press of national mandates, including the No Child Left Behind legislation, there is an urgency to transform the role of teachers so they may take on the responsibilities of educational leadership that results in learning for all.

The Galileo Institute honors the conviction that educators are eager to be purposeful professionals and that leadership is a fundamental aspect of a professional life. The Galileo Institute is comprised of result-driven efforts aimed at student achievement, leadership development and systemic changes. The institute’s initiatives may include:

  • creating and sustaining professional learning communities in schools and community colleges;
  • identifying and linking leadership efforts, statewide and nationally;
  • advocating and contributing to graduate programs that include an emphasis on the study of teacher leadership;
  • offering CEU credits needed for state certification requirements;
  • encouraging the use of high-tech tools to expand teachers’ access to best practices, data, resources and communication with other teachers;
  • sponsoring and facilitating leadership conferences and seminars that showcase best practices, promote dialogue about educational issues, and sustain a network of diverse educators;sustaining and expanding the original Galileo Academy for the preparation of teacher leaders;
  • partnering with on-going local efforts to provide professional coaching and mentoring of formal leadership positions, including principals, superintendents and deans.

Our Vision: The Future

Exploring the Future of the Galileo Institute for Teacher Leadership
Consultancy Report #1

Phase One Findings and Recommendations

The National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good
Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education
University of Michigan - July 7, 2008

The National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good, in response to the Galileo Institute for Teacher Leadership’s Request for Proposals of February 2008, is in the process of examining sustainable organizational models that would enable the Institute to expand its role as a regional center of school leadership reform while continuing to meet the needs of its constituents, fulfill its obligation of service to others, and expand its vision and activities. Realizing the desired future vision of the Institute involves an organizational analysis and review of the present and future mission and goals of the Institute, an assessment of the impact and outcomes of any potential change, the development of a funding strategy to support the expanded organizational form though both an initial transitional period and a longer stabilization period, and identifying principles the Institute might chose to adopt in organizing a comprehensive strategic planning process for its expanded vision.

To accomplish these goals, the National Forum developed a three-phase approach for providing an organizational analysis and a set of recommendations to the Institute. Phase I consists of inquiry and fact finding regarding the Institute’s current work, areas of expertise, and emerging potential. Phase II involves researching the Institute’s structure and situating the Institute both in its current association with Oakland University and in comparison to competing teacher leadership programs. Providing support to the Institute regarding a choice of funding models capable of sustaining its expanded vision while meeting the needs of its constituents comprises the work of Phase III.

The report summarizes the Phase I analysis. The report is comprised of three sections. The Model of Engagement introduces the qualitative methodology behind the National Forum’s research design. In this section, we describe how the perspectives held by key stakeholders were used to guide the analysis and the recommendations that make up this report. The Report on Work Plan Initiatives details how the underlying goals and objectives of Phase I guided the National Forum’s work plan. Finally, the Findings and Recommendations outlines the key conclusions of the interviews and research to date and provides preliminary suggestions arising from our findings. For further information on this project or discussion of this report please contact its authors at The National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good, 2339 School of Education Building, 610 East University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259. Telephone: (734) 615-8882 or www.thenationalforum.org.

John C. Burkhardt - Lara K. Badke - Paul T Feigenbaum - Nathan F. Harris - Kathryn Q. Thirolf

We will forge a vision of effective teaching that results in powerful learning for all students by:

  • Increasing teachers’ knowledge and skills about the self as change agent
  • Deepening teachers’ knowledge about learning and learning contexts
  • Developing teachers’ skills for effective assessment of and for learning
  • Promoting a sense of moral obligation and voice of advocacy
  • Renewing teachers’ passionate beliefs about the power of their influence
  • Supporting the development of exemplary practice

We will create professional communities of learners in schools and community colleges that improve and sustain student results over time by:

  • Fostering persistent disquiet with the status quo
  • Searching for research-based improvements in curriculum, instruction and assessment
  • Creating interdependence among educators with defined purposes aimed at shared results
  • Developing skills for dealing with conflict and resistance
  • Promoting systemic approaches to solving problems and building capacity

We will strengthen educators’ use of data to improve organizational practices by:

  • Creating and supporting educator study groups
  • Teaching dialogue and discussion skills for effective application of data analysis
  • Developing practitioners’ ability to integrate action research into ongoing work
  • Promoting the use of technology for documenting and analyzing practices

We will foster commitment by school districts, community colleges and universities to develop their capacity for change through the creation of:

  • An inter-organizational governing board
  • Inter-organizational networking events (conferences and seminar events)
  • An inter-organizational network of mentoring and coaching

We will develop and sustain a network of supportive leaders in education by:

  • Creating online forums for dialogue and sharing of best practices

Since its founding in 2005, the Institute has played an active role in supporting and expanding the influence of the Galileo Leadership Consortium as well as promoting the importance of blurring the lines between teacher and administrative leadership in schools and school districts in order to improve student learning. These efforts have included initiatives such as the following: 

  • Creating an Educational Specialist cohort made of Galileo teacher leaders who are part of the Galileo Academy for Teacher Leadership.
  • Helping create a Masters Program in Teacher Leadership.
  • Presentations to local, regional and national audiences on a number of Galileo-related topics such as systems change, the role of superintendents and principals in nurturing and supporting teacher leadership.
  • Hosting workshops, seminars and alumni events featuring nationally recognized speakers such Ann Lieberman, Barnett Berry, Joseph Murphy, Adam Urbanski and many local advocates for teacher leadership.
  • Developing a podcast series, now numbering nearly 200, entitled Podcasts for Leaderful Schools featuring interviews with national, regional and local educational leaders available through the Institute’s website and I-Tunes.
  • Creating and developing systems change projects and district partnerships with schools and school districts in the tri-county area.
  • Creating the Oakland University Superintendents Executive Leadership Academy to support the leadership growth and effectiveness of school superintendents and their first line assistants in school districts across the state through Leadership Labs and retreats as well as exploring effective leadership models and practices in the business and non-profit sector.
  • Hosting EdCampOU, an annual “unconference conference” for informal and formal school leaders to identify problems of practice and explore solutions as well as innovations to improve student learning, for five years.
  • Establishing the Galileo 3.0 initiative and creating the Trusted Voices Network to connect teacher leaders across the state so that together they can help reframe the agenda for education and learning in schools.
  • Developing and hosting a series of events, workshops and institutes aimed at engaging alumni and aspiring or current school leaders on topics of interest such as teacher leadership certification, blurring the lines between administrator and teacher leadership, the district central office as learner and leader, and building a culture of high reliability in schools.
  • Supporting and participating in the Galileo – Saudi Arabia Leadership Project to support the growth and development of school leaders charged with transforming education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as part of the 2030 Transformation Plan.

School systems everywhere are challenged to improve student learning to even higher levels and ensure that they function as high reliability organizations which focus not only on success for all but are serious about eliminating any school failure. To meet the pressing need for training and supporting high quality leadership in schools, an expansion of the Galileo Institute’s sole focus on teacher leadership has come about organically. Galileo districts, as well as others who are not currently in the consortium, have looked to the institute, the university and its educational leadership faculty for expertise and guidance. Future plans for the Galileo Institute include:

  • Continuing efforts to institutionalize teacher leadership through outreach with initiatives such as university and international partnerships, school and district improvement initiatives, conference presentations, workshops, institutes, publications and ongoing systems change projects.
  • Using the platform of the institute to broaden the dialogue on effective organizational leadership in schools as well as in non-profit organizations.
  • Advocating for a continuum of leadership development and internship opportunities such as inter-district and intra-district experiences, interdisciplinary university clinical field experiences, problem of practice institutes embedded in partnership districts and with international partnerships for school leaders.
  • Conducting research as part of university, district and international partnerships that can be shared at national and regional conferences as well as in scholarly journals.
  • Exploring opportunities to create consortia of districts and universities as well as robust partnerships (local, regional and international) focused on leadership topics of shared interest such as effective school leadership, teacher leadership standards and practices, teacher and administrator evaluation, internships for aspiring school leaders, effective central office services and other research to improve learning of staff, students and the school organization.
  • Creating an international network of alumni from Oakland University leadership preparation programs for whom special events are held on organizational leadership topics.
  • Exploring interest in developing sub-groups of members of the AERA, NCPEA and UCEA as well as other professional organizations for those interested in teacher and school leadership as well as other organizational leadership concepts.
  • Continuing to collaborate with the School of Education faculty and other university schools and departments to integrate leadership coursework, concepts and practices into undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • Superintendents Executive Leadership Academy and the Superintendent Advisory Board
  • Podcasts for Leaderful Schools 
  • Five Minutes for Leadership (5M4L) Newsletters
  • Galileo 3.0 Trusted Voices Network
  • Galileo Institute Advisory Board
  • Leadership Development Events
  • Leadership Labs
  • Superintendent Mentoring Network
  • EdConOU
  • International Leadership Projects

Galileo Institute for Teacher Leadership

Pawley Hall
456 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)