Last week, I was invited by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas to discuss the current educational landscape with a diverse group of school leaders from across the Diocese.  As I dug into some of the facts and trends affecting our schools at this moment, it was easy to become disheartened.  

My research for this presentation revealed some dark clouds that continue to encroach across the landscape of our schools. For example, there are the challenging and destabilizing effects of culture wars, polarization, and a rapidly eroding baseline of trust; ongoing economic uncertainty and rising inflation; faculty and staff recruitment and retention amid labor shortages; well-being and mental health concerns for faculty, staff, administrators, and students; accelerating technology disruptions; and the all too often tragic reminders of school safety and security concerns.  

As I drove across the landscape of central Texas under the shadow of these dark clouds swirling in my mind, however, I could not help but notice something quite different in the actual landscape provided by the Creator of the universe.  All along the journey, I wondered in awe at the actual landscape provided by God–fields, meadows, and roadsides adorned with the resplendent beauty of an explosion of wildflowers illuminated by the sunshine peeking through the clouds.  In stark contrast to the darkness of the educational landscape, God seemed to be reminding me of the hope of His promises through this grand blanket of Bluebonnets and Bluebells, Paintbrushes and Primroses, Winecups, and Brown-eyed Susans.  Just as Jesus emerged from the darkness of death, this glorious diversity of wildflowers emerged from the cold dark ground to reveal God’s promise of hope and love for all those who would slow down enough to receive and share God’s good gifts.  As Episcopal school leaders, I wonder if God has likewise planted us to be reminders and reflections of God’s enduring beauty to a lost and anxious world. 

So as you continue to race along the highways and byways of this school year and beyond, certainly be aware of, but do not be dismayed by, the darkness in the educational landscape.  Instead, consider slowing down and looking again. In the midst of some dark shadows, maybe you will notice the hope of the risen Christ as revealed in the glory of His creation, and maybe this reminder will continue to inspire you to fulfill the mandate Christ gave his followers in the upper room on Maundy Thursday: 


“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35 

SAES Teaching and Learning Institute

When? June 22-23, 2023

Where? St. George Episcopal School, San Antonio, TX

Audience? PK2 - Grade 5 Faculty and Administrators

Michelle Kinder

Keynote Speaker

Michelle Kinder is a Leadership Coach and a Licensed Professional Counselor. In her business, Embody EQ, she helps leaders doing good in the world embody their emotional intelligence and prioritize the mental health of their teams. She is a fellow of the OpEd Project and has articles featured in over a dozen publications including TIME, Washington Post, Texas Tribune, Ms. Magazine, The Hill, Dallas Morning News, Mindful Magazine, Huffington Post and PBS’ Next Avenue. She is a nationally recognized speaker on leadership, navigating stress and trauma, embodying emotional intelligence, and prioritizing the mental health of teams. She is also the co-author of WHOLE: What Teachers Need to Help Students Thrive and is a published poet. Michelle was raised in Guatemala as the fifth of six children and currently lives in Dallas with her husband, daughters, and pups.

“The perfect combination of passion, knowledge, poise, authenticity, warmth, and humor, Michelle Kinder holds her audiences in the palm of her hand. Each time I hear her speak, I feel moved, challenged, and spellbound. She’s masterful, relatable, and relevant.”

~Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., co-author of The Whole-Brain Child, No Drama Discipline, & The Yes Brain


Upcoming Webinars

Goal Setting for Boards and Heads                   

April 25, 2023

2:00 pm CST

Goal setting is an important part of leadership and planning... Learn More

School Website Workshop: How To Avoid Common Mistakes and Improve Your Website Performance and SEO

May 9, 2023

10:00 am CST

Join Tara Claey, Design TLC, to learn how to check your website's performance using free tools...Learn More

How Innovative Schools Are Addressing Social Media, Current Events, and Tech 

May 10, 2023

2:00 pm CST

In this keynote presentation, The Social Institute will share strategies that fuel students' health, happiness, and success...Learn More

Curated Resources for Continued Thinking and Learning

Turning Around Teacher Turnover

“New research shows that the teaching profession is facing its worst challenges in 50 years, with job satisfaction and other metrics nearing 50-year lows. While there are likely several reasons for burnout and no easy solutions, a recent study on successful professional development strategies offers a promising path forward.”

The New Wave of Public Funding of Private Schooling, Explained

Bella DiMarco and Liz Cohen, FutureED

“Many of the new and emerging private-school-choice programs emphasize empowering parents to choose their children’s school, rather than focusing on opportunities for families in need.”

“Short-burst” phonics tutoring shows promise with kindergarteners

Jill Barshay, KQED Mind/Shift

“What’s so exciting about this study is it shows that you can get a lot of the benefits of high impact tutoring—relationship-based, individualized instruction with really strong instructional materials.” 

Lessons In Leadership: A Principal Details Why Middle School is More Than Academics

While the middle school years have often been a challenging time for both young people and their educators, social media and the social-emotional fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic have brought even more hurdles.

Meeting the Need to Feel Seen, Heard, and Understood

“You feel motivated when you feel seen. You tend to disengage when you feel unheard. You’re anxious or angry when you feel misunderstood. You engage when you feel you matter. How can leaders build environments where people feel seen, heard, and understood?”

Yale’s Hugely Popular Happiness Course is Revamped For Teens

“A widely popular course at Yale University about the psychology of happiness has been retooled for teens. It teaches them how to better manage stress and feel happier as they navigate their high school years.”

Ten Reasons Why Strong Arts Education Programs Are Critical for Living in Today’s and Tomorrow’s World

“Arts programs can make a big difference in the life of every child, and every student should have the opportunity to participate in a strong, multidimensional arts program throughout their educational experience.”

TRENDLINE: School Safety and Security

To help keep you in the loop, K-12 Dive will update this page with new school safety and security trends and developments throughout the year. Here are some recent highlights from our coverage.


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