Developing a Culture of Yes with Pam Moran

What does it take for a vision to become a reality, when you are able to build a change culture across a school or District? Specifically, what does it take for that culture to reflect a move away from the teaching toward learning and away from consuming to making.  

In this episode Will talks with Pam Moran, Superintendent who is an outspoken advocate for change that goes beyond labels and technology.  

They discuss a wide range of topics including what a Twitter culture means, making yes to default answer and how to get kids to stop burning their learning once they graduate.  Pam’s challenging yet optimistic vision is inspiring others to re-imagine their schools and their districts and we’re sure you’ll be inspired as well.  

Dr Moran is Superintendent of Albemarle County Schools and was recently named Virginia’s Superintendent of the Year. Facing the challenges of a demographically complex community having extremes of wealth and poverty, Dr. Moran has provided bold leadership to improve significantly the performance of the economically disadvantaged students in her district of 13,600 students.

Dr. Moran is a leading advocate of an educational model that prepares students for “success in their century, not mine.”  She emphasizes the value of student-led research, project-based learning and contemporary learning spaces that promote collaboration, creativity, analytical problem-solving, critical thinking, and communications competencies among all students.  

Highlights from their conversation include:

  • How do you move culture away from the teaching toward learning, and away from consuming to making.  
  • How to get kids to stop burning their learning once they graduate?
  • What it takes to inspire other leaders to re-imagine their schools.
  • How a Twitter culture can be used to increase the impact of professional learning for teachers, and build transparency.
  • The importance of teachers having a real sense of efficacy across their careers, and how it supports change.
  • The role and value of critical friends in supporting innovation in classrooms.
  • What it means to put teachers in control of their own learning; to empower their ongoing and continuing development as part of their role.
  • The importance of focusing on culture in developing a readiness for change.
  • How District leadership can be model learners and support teachers to innovate, iterate and share insights around their practice.
  • How a culture of ‘Yes’, is essential to exploring new directions and powerful ideas.
  • How you nurture those different conversations in your district, which then evolve the vision and how kind of focus or how concrete is that process?
  • Why you can’t manage any organization, corporation or public or private by visible numbers alone.  
  • The responsibility school and District leaders have to support their profession beyond their own physical boundaries.
  • Why learning at school only really means something if and when they graduate that students then go out and continue to love learning, to be curious learners, to want to continue, to evolve and develop themselves as learners

Links to Topics Mentioned in this Podcast


Dr Pamela Moran

Roland Barth

World Maker Faire

Most Likely to Succeed

John Dewey

Seymour Sarason

Larry Cuban

Nation at Risk

Zone of Proximal Development


2 thoughts on “Developing a Culture of Yes with Pam Moran”

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