Field Trip: Culture Shift

How do you bring about school culture change? How do you boost instructional rigor in spite of a tiny professional development budget? Dr. Melissa Varley, Superintendent of Florham Park School District in New Jersey, talks about motivation, vision-casting and the challenging work of turning around a district’s entire outlook.

In this interview, we asked Dr. Varley about:

  • What it was like to walk into a school district in the middle of an affluent area that had been underperforming, compared to similar districts right next door
  • Sparking change in the hearts and minds of teachers, principals, students and parents, and what she did to make this an easy sell for administrators
  • Professional development strategies to improve instruction — on a shoestring budget
  • Their results, and what she would say to other education leaders who are facing similar challenges

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