Caz Badynee has been a principal for about 15 years. He has led schools in Cambridge, MA; Arlington Heights, IL; and in Chicago, IL. He has created curriculum with DePaul University Office of Innovative Professional Learning, mentored graduate principal interns with National Louis University, and taught graduate classes at Concordia-Chicago University and National Louis University. Innovative instruction, child-centered curricula, effective leadership strategies, and organizational change are his interests. He enjoys learning, innovating, and sharing his life with teachers and students and living a balanced life with his wife and son.
Dr. Badynee is currently a Visiting Assistant Principal and Director of the Principal Academy at North Central College.
Caz’s Philosophy of Education and Leadership
The writings of Tony Wagner, Daniel Pink, Richard Elmore, Alan November, and Yong Zhao have influenced my beliefs in education and the characteristics of a learning environment. Preparing children for the future has always been a critical responsibility of the school in partnership with both parents and the community. However, children today have a far less predictable future than past generations and a competitive global workforce has never been more imposing than it is today.
Education and the learning environment must meet the needs of children who must participate and compete in the global economy. As a result, my philosophical stance on teaching and learning ultimately prepares children for their future. My fundamental beliefs in teaching and learning essentially define my decision-making skills, collaborative efforts, and the implementation of the change process. My beliefs in children, society, schools, the curriculum, instruction, teachers, and school leadership mark my leadership style, values, and commitments.
Fundamentally, to be a student one needs a child-like wonder about the world. Children are natural learners and teachers. I believe that children are essentially curious and organically seek to connect their learning to personal passions. Children seek to build a knowledge base to help them interpret the world around them. Children want to be understood, want to belong, and want to connect to their world.
Our society is fast-paced, result-orientated, and interconnected to global communities. A school community relies on teachers to prepare students for the future, cultivate values and morals within a school setting, and exercise best practices to meet the needs of all children. The community trusts the schools to nurture, articulate, creative, and inspire children to build a better global community.
Schools value the critical role, entrusted by society, to cultivate prepared children to successfully interact with the global community. Schools search for new ways to invest in children through building confidence, skills, leadership, and passion. Schools have three purposes: (1) make learning relevant and meaningful for children, (2) build a knowledge base for children to interact and collaborate effectively with a diverse community, and (3) inspire children to solve problems and creatively think.
Thus, teaching and learning becomes the opportunity to meet and inspire all students to grow. Teaching and learning cultivates individuals who can contribute to a diverse global community. And finally, teaching and learning nurtures the development of a child both as an individual and as a member of a community. In schools, the role of teacher and student are interchangeable. Children and adults are learning and teaching in an open and transparent format. Learning becomes the fundamental work of all members within a school community.
The curriculum must prepare students for their future. The curriculum must interdisciplinary, integrated, and project-based. It must be aimed at engaging students in addressing real-world problems, issues important to humanity, and questions that matter. The curriculum must be flexible, adaptable, and future-focused while meeting the needs of the current learner and inspiring him or her to push creativity and innovation to new heights.
Instruction must react to the needs of all students. Instruction must unleash potential leadership, creativity, entrepreneurial skills, inquiry, and connectedness. Through instructional practices, every child must be engaged and inspired by the curriculum. Instruction must integrate technology, the global society, collaboration, discovery, and reflection. Differentiated, individualized, and personalized learning becomes the cornerstone of engaging instruction.
Finally, teaching is part science and part art. It requires teachers who are learners and problem-solvers. Teachers need to build diverse classrooms with walls that are porous and transparent, connecting teachers, students and the community to the wealth of knowledge that exists in the world. Teachers need to orchestrate diverse learning, transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. Teachers need to be highly collaborative, self-reflective, inquisitive, analytical, and compassionate.
The administrator, the chief learner, inspires teachers, the school and the community through words and actions. The school leader secures funding, initiatives, community support, and resources for teachers and the learning environment. Through a common vision, the school administrator, fosters and nurtures a dynamic learning environment.
The learning environment is an engaging process for both child and adult. Learning is a vibrant resource that integrates school improvement efforts, arouses community spirit, and ultimately drives success.