© 2016 by Wendy Samford

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In The Press

"Out Of The Dark" is a call to arms for curriculum development as leadership.  It provides a platform for curriculum leaders of all kinds to take a collective journey of understanding out an era of standardization and de-skilling to one of professional growth and change.  A Must-Read!

Rose Ylimaki

Professor Of Educational Policy Studies and Practice, University of Arizona

In the hearts of many educators is a strong belief that something is basically wrong with America’s educational system. Dr. Samford clearly exposes one of the major pervasive problems and authors a message that is too clear to ignore. Readers will find educational history, philosophy and revolution, all rolled into one.

Richard J. Welsh

National Educational Consultant Director Co-Teach America ​VP, NOBOX Inc., Educational Consulting Corporation

"Out Of The Dark" is Wendy Samford's cri de coeur mediated by mindset. From her experiential and gut reaction that much is wrong with the present system-standardization, lack of proactive leadership-to her identification of renewal and a call to action, there is much in this book for leaders to take forward into their own situations.

Michael Fullan

Professor Emeritus, LOISE / University of Toronto

While reading, "Out of the Dark," many statements made me wonder about the field of education and all of the politics intertwined within.  So many people in the world focus on the "whats" instead of the "hows" and the "whys."  When I first started teaching, I used to share stories with my mom about things/situations that happened throughout my day.  She would listen and nod her head and typically respond with, "Wow, you are always so politically correct", “I could never be like that!"  Her consistent responses got me thinking/reflecting and I was actually proud of myself that I was able to bite my tongue and work through things instead of lacking a filter, unlike my beloved mother.  Honestly though, I took her statement as a compliment. :)

In, "Out of the Dark," Neutrality was a section (small but mighty) that actually struck a pretty large cord with me.  “Is it wrong to refuse to accept education the way it is today?  What good is there in pushing back, will it change anything?  These questions remain unanswered, but there is one given, which is, is it unethical to do nothing?  The educator does not have the right to be silent just because he or she has to respect the culture" (Samford, 2016, pg. 26).  This is exactly how I felt!  I felt as though I had to "toe the line", be careful NOT to ruffle feathers, go into my classroom and stay in my secluded little bubble, etc.

As the years went by, I realized this was not what I wanted.  Why couldn't I collaborate with others?  Why couldn't I plan lessons with team members based on student need instead of following the prescribed Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 plan as though I was a robot? Our district was changing but only when the administration wanted it to.  In the beginning, it worked in our favor, but then it all stopped.  If it isn't a top-down decision, it won't happen.  Why is this?  Why can't teacher leaders be involved in the district plans?  Why can't the people in the trenches make decisions about what they do while in the trenches?  Shouldn't the people who know children best be the ones making the decisions that affect them?  Or at least be part of the decision making process?  The problem so many of us face is, what will be the repercussions of our outspoken behaviors?  Will we lose our jobs considering it's easy to hire someone new who will toe the line? How is someone supposed to be confident enough to stand up for what they believe in, without having the fear of the recourse?

Elementary School Teacher

Ohio

Calling all educators who are passionate about working as lead professionals for society's democratic ideals and values! Wendy Samford has written a book that serves as an inspirational model and guide for your professional aspirations. Her text provides the information you need to function as an insightful critic, collegial leader, and pedagogical artist.

James G. Henderson

Professor Of Curricular Studies, Rebecca Tolle & Burton W. Gorman Chair For Leadership In Education, Kent State University

It's important to listen to the words of life-long in-school educators, like Samford, who can connect to the policy issues to what happens to real-life teachers and kids.  Chock full of details and ideas about how we should respond.

Deborah Meier

Public School Teacher; Principle, Author

In our last staff meeting, I could just see the stress on my colleagues' faces. It was like I was reading their minds- Here we go again, another year for you to prove that I am just a developing or skilled teacher. I could only think of what I had been reading, "Our duty is to begin to dialogue when something is questionable."(Samford, 2016, p.29) and "Those who believe in a better end must forge a new path."(p.31). Which new path am I to take, one for students, teachers, or both? I have been in their shoes. I have been on a plan because of students' scores. I know how hard I worked to prove, I am not what your evaluation of my students says I am, I did add value to my students. My colleagues have added value to students, too. I have also watched the faces of my students as they suffer through biweekly tests and formal state testing. The look of relief on my daughter's face after she finishes her week of testing.

Your book has given me the courage to begin to ask more questions and not accept the answer.  Who is willing to step up and not accept the answer given, then ask the next question that will offer the best solution?  Staff, unions, or central offices? 

Middle School Teacher

Ohio

Teacher leadership is coming into the fore as we realize that the role of school leaders is to spawn widespread teacher leadership. What is great about ‘Creating a Culture of Support for Teacher Leaders’ is that the chapters weave the symbiotic experiences of teachers and administrators working together to change the culture of schools in sustainable ways. A book that unleashes the power of teacher leadership for the good of all.

Michael Fullan

Professor Emeritus OISE/University of Toronto

There is a profound need today for visionary educational leaders who possess holistic, democratic values.  Rosemary Gornik and Wendy Samford’s well-researched book provides deep practical and narrative insights into how this professional need can be fulfilled.  They clearly explain and demonstrate a collaborative leadership development that is vital to the future of quality, public education in democratic societies.

Dr. James Henderson

Professor of Curriculum Studies, Rebecca Tolle and Burton W. Gorman Chair in Educational Leadership

This important new book sheds light on the importance of leadership, in multiple roles and forms, for improving the performance of schools.  For educators and others who seek to break new ground and to create schools that are truly responsive to the needs of all students, this book will be enlightening.

Pedro A. Noguera, PhD

Distinguished Professor of Education UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies

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