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Future Focused Leaders

Future Focused Leaders
Relate, Innovate, and Invigorate for Real Educational Change

Foreword by Salome Thomas-EL

Additional resources:


June 2017 | 192 pages | Corwin

Promote the skills and experiences that equip students to thrive in the future!


Future Focused Leaders concentrates on three areas, Relate, Innovate, and Invigorate, that will engage and empower school leaders to effectively prepare students and educators for the future. This book provides best practices, practical tools, and research-based strategies that educators can immediately apply for sustainable innovation in their leadership. With maintaining positive change in mind, this book also offers:

  • Examples, vignettes, and activities for reflection and action
  • A self-evaluation rubric to check your ability to relate, innovate, and invigorate
  • Visit Chase Learning for video and audio resources, as well as a leadership simulation for team practice

Read chapter 4

About the Authors
Chapter 1: Conversational Leadership: Leadership Driven by Relationships, Listening, and Communication
School Leader’s Story: Listening to Student Voice

The Conversation Is the Relationship

More Meaningful Meetings

School Culture

School Leader’s Story: Building Authentic Relationships

Relate, Innovate, Invigorate Activities

School Leader Simulation (SIM): The Bully Teacher

Chapter 2: Communication Builds Community: Telling Your School Story Together
School Leader’s Story: Telling Your School’s Story

Branding Your School

Digital Media Tools


School Leader’s Story: Communicating by Relating

Relate, Innovate, Invigorate Activities

Chapter 3: Connecting to Make a Difference: Building Relationships With the Entire School Community
School Leader’s Story: Connecting Students With Their Community

Connecting for Learning

School, It’s Not Just for Students Anymore

School Leader’s Story: Engaging the Community

Partnerships to Strengthen Learning

School Leader’s Story: Making a Difference for Others

Relate, Innovate, Invigorate Activities

Chapter 4: Shift in How We Do School: The Changing Architecture of Learning and Schooling
School Leader’s Story: Increasing Parent Involvement

Holding Back Innovation: Comfort, Cost, and Courage

A Future Crisis: Pulling Away From the Past to Save the Future

Physical Environment

School Leader’s Story: Empowering Students

Relate, Innovate, Invigorate Activities

Chapter 5: Digital Leadership, Learning, and Technology: Digital School Leaders Making a Difference for Students
School Leader’s Story: Modeling Digital Learning

You Think You Have Problems?

SwERI Framework

Future Design Learning Environments

School Leader’s Story: Technology Supports Student Interest

Relate, Innovate, Invigorate Activities

Chapter 6: Nurturing Creativity: Strategies for Leaders to Inspire Creativity in Their Teachers, Students, and Parents
School Leader’s Story: Creating Space for Creativity

The Fourth Revolution

Growing Creativity

School Leader’s Story: Creative Solutions for Authentic Problems

Relate, Innovate, Invigorate Activities

Chapter 7: Inspiring Others to Greatness: Principals Inspiring Teachers, Students, and Parents for Amazing Things
School Leader’s Story: Getting All Voices Heard

Making a Lasting Difference

Culture Changes in Education

Returning to the Call

School Leader’s Story: Community Members Inspiring Students

Relate, Innovate, Invigorate Activities

Chapter 8: Building on Strengths: Leadership That Focuses on Strengths and Celebrates the Success of Others
School Leader’s Story: A House Undivided

The Power of Team

Focus on Strengths

School Leader’s Story: Stronger Together: Collaborating for Success

Relate, Innovate, Invigorate Activities

Chapter 9: Servant Leadership: Serving the Students, Staff, and Community to Ensure They Get What They Need to Learn
School Leader’s Story: Serving the School Community

Kindergarten Lessons

School Leader’s Story: Supporting Students’ Ideas: “Make It Happen”

Relate, Innovate, Invigorate Activities

Chapter 10: Learning Is the Goal: Leadership That Resists Trends and Quick Fixes
School Leader’s Story: Supporting Leadership Throughout the School for Learning

A Lead Learner

Do What Matters

Resist the Quick Fix

Keys to Learning as School Leaders

Celebrate Learning

School Leader’s Story: Changing a School Culture for Learning

Relate, Innovate, Invigorate Activities



"Future Focused Leaders delivers on its promise to provoke a dialogue about meaningful change. Learn from leaders from every corner of the country, and hear how they are innovating to meet the needs of all students. This truly is a book about a better tomorrow, and how to get started today."

Dr. Brad Gustafson, National Distinguished Principal and Author of Renegade Leadership
Greenwood Elementary School, Plymouth, MN

"In my own work I have come to the conclusion that the best ideas go from practice to theory. If you believe this, as I do, Future Focused Leadership is for you. Ziegler and Ramage have provided us with lots of ideas, stories and key takeaways from many practitioners who have done it, and reflected on what they have done. Be prepared to be a proactive consumer of the ideas in this book, and you will be amply rewarded."

Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus
University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

"Are you looking for ideas on how to build a better school community where technology isn’t an outlier but part of the core conversation? Future Focused Leaders: Relate, Innovate, and Invigorate for Real Change by Bill Ziegler and Dave Ramage is the book for you. Through practical stories from practicing K-12 leaders around the country, to their Relate, Innovate, and Invigorate framework, you will walk away with a plethora of ideas and actionable steps to get those ideas started."

Peter DeWitt, Ed.D., Corwin Author/Consultant
Finding Common Ground blog (Education Week), Albany, NY

"As Bill Ziegler and Dave Ramage of this informative text note, “learning is the goal.” They relentlessly focus on that goal and demonstrate the ways in which school leaders can ensure that all students do, in fact, learn. Their work advances the equity agenda and contributes to the overall understanding about the ways in which school leaders can worker smarter, not harder. I appreciated the examples in this book that can be used to inform the practices of school leaders everywhere."

Douglas Fisher Ph.D., Professor of Educational Leadership
San Diego State University, San Deigo, CA

"Future Focused Leaders is a fantastic resource for administrators at all levels of school leadership. The success stories lend themselves to change that can be made immediately to help students, staff, and communities. The Relate, Innovate and Invigorate framework is a wonderful model to enhance leadership capacity through activities that will move your school and district forward!"

Joe Sanfelippo, PhD, Superintendent
Fall Creek School District, Fall Creek, WI

"What a smorgasbord of greatness! Bill & Dave will exceed your expectations in all they poured into this book… including their hearts. Dynamic and realistic tips with real examples and tools. I've not seen a more inclusive book!"

LaVonna Roth, International Speaker/Consultant
Creator & Founder of Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.®, Riverview, FL

"The book Future Focused Leaders: Relate, Innovate, and Invigorate for Real Change by Bill Ziegler and Dave Ramage is a must have for all leaders and aspiring leaders. Bill and Dave frame their work in a way that makes it accessible to all readers because not only do they provide ideas and share their thinking but they also spotlight real life examples of things happening in schools across our country today! Bill and Dave speak to the importance of communication in leadership and how that impacts relationships, engagement, and overall success of the community. This book serves as a guide of what could be when leaders make a dedicated and intentional effort to change things!"

Dr. Tony Sinanis, Lead Learner in, Author, Speaker & Presenter
Plainedge Public Schools, Massapequa, NY

"This project is a wonderful tool for a lead learner to develop skills for next level impact. These practical and powerful examples from #educhampions are powerful, practical, and will make a difference for students and staff in your school."

Derek McCoy, Principal
West Rowan Middle School, Salisbury, NC

"The educational world is filled with linear ideas, one size fits all best practices, and data driven theories that continue to persuade school leaders to ultimately create second rate replicas from the past.  Thankfully, Future Focused Leaders, provides hope for all students, and leaders, who are strong enough to rise up against traditional silos. It showcases a diverse group of leaders that strive on practice over theory, from across the US with exponential ideas, while providing an abundance of strategies for others to follow to create schools of tomorrow."

Glenn Robbins, Superintendent
Tabernacle Township School District, Tabernacle, NJ

"School leaders will find many one-stop ideas that will help them innovate their school in practical, inexpensive ways."

Virginia E. Kelsen, Executive Director, Career Readiness
Chaffey Joint Union High School District, Ontario CA

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 4

For instructors

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