Promoting Good Communication Among Educational Leaders

By: David J. Smith, September 3, 2014

In May 2014 I was invited to develop an afternoon workshop for the Anne Arundel County (MD)  Board of Education.  The board had recently appointed a new superintendent and wanted to create an opportunity for  board members to meet with him in a working environment.   The focus of the workshop was advancing effective communication approaches, looking at ways to resolve differences, and promoting collaboration.

Before the workshop I implemented a survey with the participants using SurveyMonkey.   This gave me an opportunity to consider the needs of individual board members and how they saw upcoming priorities.  During the first part of the workshop, I shared with the group the survey results.

We discussed the role of trust and how it could be enhanced.  This led to considering a fictitious situation  where trust and communication had broken down in a board. Participants were asked to consider how trust might be rebuilt.

Consensus is a means of decision making.  We discussed the importance of consensus building.  Using a simulation I created called “Comments by a Former President” we considered how a college board might respond to a situation where a former president made racially disparaging remarks (after a building was named after him.)

The program ended with a short visioning exercising using some precepts from Appreciative Inquiry.


Published by David J. Smith

I am a career coach, consultant, and head of a not for profit - the Forage Center - that offers humanitarian education training. I also teach at George Mason University and Drexel University. A one time lawyer, I spent many years teaching in a community college where I was a Fulbright U.S. Scholar teaching in Estonia. I'm the author of Peace Jobs: A Student's Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace (IAP 2016). I've been married to my best friend for over 31 years and we have two well adjusted adult children who teach me something new everyday. I live in Rockville, Maryland.

One thought on “Promoting Good Communication Among Educational Leaders

  1. Thank you David for sharing this session . . . it helps to keep my brain updated as I continue to build a healthy communication workshop series called Horse Wisdom, Transforming Power and the Creative Process. I am now an Equine Specialist with EAGALA ( and PATH International ( ). The horse help enhance this work as wise partners, particularly in the area of non verbal communication. My first pilot workshop starts with 7th graders next week! I am glad your article reminder me of Survey Monkey and Appreciative Inquiry!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: