The Impact of Stable Leadership on Urban School Success
Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Dr. Maureen Gillette, Dean of Education & Human Services at Seton Hall University, to discuss the challenges facing urban education and how the stabilization of school leadership, and community elements such as housing and safety can impact the success of an urban school.
"We are pleased to welcome Dr. Maureen Gillette, Dean, the College of Education and Human Services at Seton Hall University. Good to see you Doctor. Thank you, I'm thrilled to be here Steve. We are both... let's disclose, we are both Seton Hall Pirate fans of the basketball team. We are, we are, we follow basketball, that's where I met you the first time. So... That's right. Glad to meet you here now, and wish for a good season for Seton Hall next year, but let's get to education. You have a very clear philosophy of what it takes to educate our children, particularly in urban schools. Talk about it. So I was a teacher for 12 years before I decided to go back to graduate school and to get a doctorate, feeling like I could make a bigger impact working with people who wanted to be teachers. So I grew up in the second largest city in Illinois, on the east side of Aurora, and was pretty familiar with the kinds of issues that, you know, urban schools address, and I worked with the diversity of kids, and developed my own philosophy about working with parents, community, family, community agencies, for the betterment of kids to be sure they are academically successful, socially and emotionally successful, so I've spent my lifetime in this business, and it's why I get up in the morning. Let's talk about this. If I were to ask you, and there are many more than this doctor, but three keys to successfully educating our students in urban areas include? So I think, number one, is schools need strong leaders, and strong teachers. One big issue in urban schools today is there's a lot of instability, there's a lot of school closures, and I don't know how you went to school, but I walked to my neighborhood school. Newark, New Jersey, I walked everyday. Yeah, so I'm a big advocate of neighborhood schools, so that kids have teachers and principals who know them, know their families, understand the issues in the community, that's what I've been researching and working on for the last twenty years. So I think we try to prepare our teachers to, first and foremost, get to know kids and families. You can't teach kids you don't know, you can't help families if you don't know what they're going through, and so stabilizing urban schools by connecting with kids and families, if you look across the nation, the most successful urban schools are the ones where the parents are involved, the community's involved, the teachers and principals are there for the long run..."