Jim Spillane Lectures in Chile on Distributed Leadership in Schools

Jim Spillane Lectures in Chile on Distributed Leadership in Schools

James Spillane

“Distributed Leadership” was the topic when SESP professor James Spillane gave a lecture to more than 300 people in Santiago, Chile. Spillane was in Chile to give a public education lecture at Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago.

His talk on May 8, like much of his research, focused on improving education leadership. In particular, he emphasized the critical role of organization and school system infrastructure in enabling improvement in teaching and learning.

Using a distributed framework for diagnosis and design is beneficial, according to Spillane. His presentation enlightened teachers, school leaders, policymakers, education researchers and others in attendance about the importance of viewing school leadership in terms of interactions that can improve teaching and learning.

“Individuals with no leadership designations have a hand in leading and managing instruction,” Spillane explained as he displayed research results showing teacher advice networks.

In addition to his public lecture, Spillane’s time in Santiago also included a visit to the Ministry of Education, where he talked with officials from several units about improving schools and selecting school principals. Over several days, he also spoke with education researchers, education faculty members and graduate students from various universities in Chile.

Spillane is the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Professor in Learning and Organizational Change and the chair of the Human Development and Social Policy doctoral program at the School of Education and Social Policy. He is also a professor of Learning Sciences and a faculty associate at the Institute for Policy Research.

Spillane’s work explores the policy implementation process at the state, school district, school and classroom levels. An expert in school leadership and educational policy, he is the author of several books, including Distributed Leadership and Diagnosis and Design for School Improvement, as well as numerous journal articles.

In addition to his policy research, Spillane also studies organizational leadership and change, looking at organizational leadership as a distributed practice. Recent projects include studies of instructional advice seeking in schools and the socialization of new school principals.

Recently named the director of the Office of Global Initiatives at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy, Spillane is leading the School’s efforts to develop a more global perspective. Global initiatives are a priority for the School to extend its resources and address critical issues worldwide. 

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 7/13/16