The educational leaders reading this blog will definitely want to add Dr. Khalid Mumin’s new book Problem Child (www.WGWPublishing.com/books) to their professional library. Khalid, who serves as Superintendent of the Reading School District, has written a book about educating students from underserved communities plagued by poverty. Drawing on his personal experience, Khalid, who was recently named 2021 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, offers educational leaders, administrators, and faculty tested, practical guidance in unleashing disadvantaged students’ potential and getting them on the path to productive, fulfilling, and economically stable lives.
Not far into the video interview about Problem Child that I recorded with Khalid last week (you’ll find the link at the end of this post), I realized that I wasn’t only talking with the author of an important new book who is building a national reputation. Khalid is also an avatar of a new breed of public/nonprofit chief executive officers I’m encountering with increasing frequency around the country: the Transformational Change Leader. In a nutshell, the Transformational Change Leader spearheads one or more significant innovation initiatives that transform the organization she or he leads, making a substantial, lasting difference, in terms of organizational impact and, often, culture. In Khalid’s case, as his new book attests, his chosen innovation initiative is significantly expanding opportunity for students from underserved communities through their educational experience in the Reading Schools.
I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of highly successful Transformational Change Leaders in diverse sectors over the past 35-plus years, including K-12 education, public transit, economic/community development, and health care. They all have shared 5 attributes that have been key to their success as change leaders. They have:
- Been driven by a clear vision of the impact they intend to produce through the innovation process.
- Been laser-focused on a very concrete innovation initiative – not a “Christmas list” of the kind of goals you might find in the traditional strategic planning document.
- Inspired colleagues, students and other customers to participate in the change effort through their authenticity and transparency, such as Khalid’s being courageous enough to share his real-life experience as a problem child himself early in his educational odyssey.
- Walked the talk, paying meticulous attention to the nuts and bolts details involved in actually implementing innovation initiatives, playing a hands-on role in getting the innovation job done, rather than making merely a rhetorical commitment.
- Made sure their board members were actively engaged in the innovation process, both in helping to shape innovation initiatives and providing the resources to fuel implementation.
A little over two years ago, this blog featured my interview with another Transformational Change Leader, Dr. Luvelle Brown, Superintendent of the Ithaca (New York) City Public Schools, whose book Culture of Love describes how a seven-year process of updating district policies has transformed the district’s culture: https://www.dougeadie.com/superintendent-luvelle-brown-leading-from-the-heart-as-well-as-the-head/.
Here’s my video interview with Khalid for your viewing pleasure.