• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Archives
    Archives Contains a list of blog posts that were created previously.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Vision – Change – Growth

Posted by on in Education Leadership
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 5961

“Great organizations demand a high level of commitment by the people involved.”
– Bill Gates

Vision (eyesight) is one of our five senses, eyesight is how ‘sighted’ people get input from the world around us. Eyesight is something that I do NOT take for granted, especially due to personal circumstances over the past six months. In this blog post I am going to draw parallels to my personal experiences with my vision and the concept of Vision in terms of organizational growth and change.

For 35 years I wore eyeglasses to correct my vision – correct as in meaning to improve sight. Sight in terms of what I could see with focus, distance, depth, perception, etc. I could still “see” without glasses, but my “vision” was distorted. With a distorted vision, I was not able to fully “see” or take in the world. The change I needed to make in my life was the change to wear glasses to “correct” my vision.

Often our vision needs to be corrected so that change and new methods can be embraced for improvement

Last year I started to lose my clear vision in my left eye (even with the change I had made 35 years prior) – even with glasses, the vision in my left eye was deteriorating. Again, I had to make choices: 1. let my vision deteriorate and accept a new limited reality; or 2. embrace change again to “correct” my sight.

During the period last year when my vision was departing from my left eye  I discovered I was developing cataracts. A cataract “grows” on the lens of the eye and impedes sight. During this experience the first change method I used to correct my vision, eyeglasses, was no longer sufficient.

For 35 years one method of correction worked and I was able to “see”. All of a sudden, out of nowhere I had two options: 1. live with limited vision or 2. have cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is not Lasik surgery; lasik works on the cornea (see the image at the left). Cataract surgery requires the removal and replacement of the lens in the eye. I also discovered during this process of stress, uneasiness, chaos, dissonance, “cheese moving” so to speak – that I needed to replace the lens in both eyes not just in my left eye. So … for a guy who is queasy with “health” stuff … I had to make a choice to confront my fears, confront risk and uncertainty and depart with the habits I had developed over a 35 year glasses wearing period.

So, after two surgeries – successful thankfully – my vision had not only been improved, but I did not need glasses anymore. My brilliant opthamologist inserted a distance lens in my right eye (still 20/20) and a reading/mid range img class="alignleft wp-image-2148" src="https://dps109supt.edublogs.org/files/2017/01/change-management-models-adkar-satir-8-step-switch-and-lewin-models-8-638-1z4ajtj.jpg" alt="" width="404" height="303" srcset="http://dps109supt.edublos.org/files/2017/01/change-management-models-adkar-satir-8-step-switch-and-lewin-models-8-638-1z4ajtj.jpg 638w, http://dps109supt.edublogs.org/files/2017/01/change-management-models-adkar-satir-8-step-switch-and-lewin-models-8-638-1z4ajtj-300x225.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 404px) 100vw, 404px" style="box-sizing: border-box; max-width: 100%; height: auto; vertical-align: middle; display: inline; float: left; margin-right: 2em;">lens in my left eye (20/20 reading and mid range). Wow – change was awesome! Wow – surgery and recovery was not so bad after all.

A change model I use in graphic form is the Virginia Satir change model (depicted in the image to the left). Applying this model to my personal health changes, the discovery of cataracts equate to the foreign element (by red triangle) introduced in my life.

Initially there was resistance (step 2). I was scared, angry, resentful, concerned, confused, and uncomfortable. The chaos, step 3, was the surgery, recovery and my experiences in those settings.

The Transforming Idea (red triangle at the bottom of the image) was the fact that after two surgeries I had better eyesight  than I had ever had. NO more glasses! NO reading glasses! The ability to wear sunglasses! No limited night vision. This all led to “integration”, step 4, and a new status quo. The change was fantastic and the new status quo was far better than the old one!

Change is a process, change is part of life, change is inevitable. Few of us seek change but in the end, many changes are far better than “that’s the way we have always done it” mentality.


In the Deerfield Public Schools, District 109, we are engaged in a Strategic Planning process. Strategic means change, improvement, new, different. Strategic Planning means that the Satir Model of Change will now be applied to our organization.

In strategic planning organizations (in our case as a public school district) the Board of Education sets the mission, vision, values, and goals, and the superintendent and leadership team works to develop objectives for each of the goals. Each objective aligns to a goal.

Each goal is also aligned with the values or guiding principles. Those principles are aligned to the portrait of a graduate (beginning with the end in mind).

The portrait of a graduate is aligned to the vision and mission. I’m deliberately stating all of this to set the stage for how vision and change are coming to the Deerfield Public Schools! Our past 3.5 years have been filled with completing plans made by previous boards and leaders – we are proud of these plan completions and I have penned a number of blog posts about the impact of these changes. Now, the stage is set for the next few years to be guided and directed by and grounded in the new Strategic Plan.

In terms of strategic planning, setting the stage for what we hope to become, or setting the vision, is a complex process of input, review, soul searching, input searching, and hope.

Vision on in an organization refers to an aspiration   — or hope about the future.The vision describes what the future will become. It describes how the organization will lookin its future. The visions that get actualized are those that are based upon shared values and ideals.

A shared vision is powerful because members of the organization synthesize their hopes and aspirations in support of the common cause – or SHARED VISION. As a leader my aim is to inspire a shared vision. My aim is to generate ideas and synthesize multiple points of input into coherent action plans. My aim is to plan for change that is powerful, meaningful, and that becomes all hands on deck change.

Kouzes & Posner, authors of the Leadership Challenge, have found through extensive research across industry, that the 5 Exemplary Characteristics of leaders are:

img class="size-full wp-image-2141 alignleft" src="https://dps109supt.edublogs.org/files/2017/01/leadershipchallenge-2b0v3qu.jpeg" alt="" width="404" height="123" srcset="http://dps109supt.edublogs.org/files/2017/01/leadershipchallenge-2b0v3qu.jpeg 404w, http://dps109supt.edublogs.org/files/2017/01/leadershipchallenge-2b0v3qu-300x91.jpeg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 404px) 100vw, 404px" style="box-sizing: border-box; max-width: 100%; height: auto; vertical-align: middle; display: inline; float: left; margin-right: 2em;">

Model the Way/Inspire a Shared Vision/Challenge The Process/Enable Others to Act/Encourage the Heart

Over the past few years our leadership team has spent significant time engaged in book review, 360 degree assessments based upon the Leadership Challenge LPI 360, and as a team we have strived to embody all five of these characteristics in all that we do as we lead and serve. The leadership framework upon which Nick Polyak and I frame in our upcoming book, The Unlearning Leader, is based on the 5 exemplary practices of a leader! These practices resonate with me and my leadership team.

By Inspiring a Shared Vision, when the “foreign” element is added into the mix, and the old status quo is challenged (challenge the process is another of the exemplary practices of a leader) the resistance is lessened and the pain is diminished when large numbers of stakeholders are engaged in the planning, vision creation, and planning!

In the Deerfield Public Schools we received more than 1,700 people’s input into our Strategic Plan – our district has 3000 students from 1,850 families, so the 1,700 voices helping guide our work give me great comfort that all voices are on the table as we prepare to make our system better – and as we prepare to make changes in our system.

Just like my personal experiences with change have had painful and uncomfortable moments, and just as I did not control elements of what happened to me, our organization is on the path toward meaningful change!

For another post at another time, I’ll explain how my perfect vision and my revised status quo was once again challenged as a torn retina became yet another foreign element in my life creating chaos, and change. As I march towards my new status quo I’m proud that my medical team, family, friends, co-workers, and employer have all helped inspire a shared vision in me — quite literally and figuratively!

To the future ….

As always comments are welcomed and encouraged!

Last modified on
Rate this blog entry:

Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D. Mike currently serves as the superintendent of schools in the Deerfield, IL Public Schools (District 109).  Mike is married and is the father of two young children. He lives and works in suburban Chicago. Mike attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, with a minor in criminal justice. He holds a Master of Arts in teaching and Educational Specialist in administration and supervision from National-Louis University. Mike earned his Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction from Loyola University of Chicago, where his published dissertation was on Effective Instruction in Middle School Social Studies. Mike has had a variety of experiences as an educational professional. He began his educational career as an elementary and middle school teacher, prior to assuming roles of associate principal and principal at the middle school level, and as an assistant superintendent for personnel services (PK-8). He is also on the adjunct faculty at National Louis University in the Department of Educational Leadership. He can be found on Twitter at @mikelubelfeld and he is the co-moderator of #suptchat - the superintendent educational chat on Twitter with Nick Polyak, and he and Polyak co-authored the book The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today (Rowman-Littlefield Publishers).


Presentations, Certifications

American Association of School Administrators (AASA) National Superintendent Certification Program (2014-2016)

Illinois School of Advanced Leadership (ISAL) through the IASA and Cardinal Stritch University (Milwaukee, WI) Earned title of Fellow (2012-2014)

2017 - Keynote presenter & breakout presenter EdTechTeam Leadership Symposia (OH, CA)

2016 - Presenter at the IASA State Superintendent Conference - Social Media for Supts.

2016 - Co-facilitator IASA Aspiring Superintendent Academy

2016- Co-Director Legislation for the Lake County Superintendents

2015, 2016, 2017 – Presenter at the AASA National Council in Ed – Social Media for Supts.

2015 – Co-Presenter at Suburban Superintendent Roundtable for Northern Illinoishttp://t.co/x8Ls5Ddg00

2015 – Presenter at IASBO A New Design Frontier for Next Generation Learning

2015 – Panelist Leading for Transformative Change at Tech & Learning Live Chicago

2015 – Presenter at Illinois CTO Summit (Center for Digital Education and the Illinois Educational Technology Leaders (IETL)) Leadership and Vision

2015 – Presentation at Discovery Education Superintendent Digital Transition Symposium in Washington, D.C.Telling Our Story: Innovation in DPS109

2015 Presentations at Joint Annual Conference - Social Media for Superintendents and Effective Building Design

2015 Presenter at Illinois Association of School Administrators Annual Conference

2014-present Co-moderate national/international monthly Twitter chat #suptchat

2011 Illinois ASCD Leadership Institute Presenter – Using Danielson Frameworks



Bullis B., Filippi J., Lubelfeld M. (2016). I Hear What You’re Saying...And I Respect You. Journal of Scholarship and Practice, Summer 2016/Volume 13. No.2, 44-54.


In Publication: Bullis B., Filippi J., Lubelfeld M. (2017). Managing Up. Principal (NAESP)


Bullis B., Filippi J., Lubelfeld M. (2016). Reimagined NGSS learning spaces: Principals as holistic school improvement leaders. Principal Leadership, 52-54.


Himebaugh G., Lubelfeld M. (2016). Inspiring a Shared Vision. Update, Spring (Leadership Issue), 24-29.


Lubelfeld M. Rev. of Writing Pathways: Performance Assessments and Learning Progressions, by Lucy Calkins.ILASCD Summer Newsletter, Summer 2016, Volume 62, No. 2: 25-27.


Lubelfeld M., Polyak N. (2017). The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today. Lathan, MD: Rowman-Littlefield. -March 2017


Lubelfeld M., Polyak N., Seibert A. (2016). Leaders in Learning Through AASA’s Digital Consortium. School Administrator, February, 32-33.


Other (Memberships, other experiences)


Suburban Schools Superintendents (SSS)

Illinois & American Association of School Administrators (IASA/AASA,

National Association of School Superintendents (NASS)

Ed Leader 21 Member

Illinois & Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD/ILASCD),

Illinois & American Association of School Business Officials (IASBO),

The Horace Mann League of the USA,

Rotary Club of Deerfield, IL (Secretary 2014-16)

Advisory board member for the Digital Consortium (AASA)

2016 Superintendent Advisory Council - Center for Digital Education

Member Education Advisory Board - Hon. Bob Dold, U.S. Congressman 10th District

Member of Community Advisory Committee on Education – Rep. Scott Drury (IL-58th)

Twitter http://twitter.com/mikelubelfeld

Bilingual (English/Spanish)

Enrolled in intensive Spanish language and Mexican culture classes at the Cuauhnahuac Institute in Cuernavaca, Mexico; lived with Mexican family, 1992



INSPRA video website

NSPRA (National School Public Relations Association) Superintendents to Watch 2015-2016

2016 LifeTouch Memory Mission to the Dominican Republic represented the AASA

NASS (National Assn of School Superintendents) Superintendent of the Year 2015 Finalist

INSPRA (IL Chapter NSPRA) 2014 Distinguished Service Award of Excellence - Superintendent’s Task Force for Middle Level Education

The science labs won the Learning by Design Award for “Outstanding Project” in the Spring of 2016 as well as an Award of Merit in the Exhibition of Educational Environments Awards at the Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the Illinois Association of School Boards, and the Illinois Association of School Business Officials in 2015.  


DPS109 Science lab project was featured:

Johnsos, C., Monberg, G. (2015). Built on Value. Update, Fall (Facilties Isssue), 30-33.


Ullman, E. (2016). The Intelligent Use of Space. Tech & Learning Volume 36, Number 5, 34-38.


Received a 1997 Award of Excellence for Caring to Challenge, from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA)

Selected to represent Illinois on the Social Studies Teachers’ Study Seminar in Germany, sponsored by the ICSS and the Armonk Institute, 1995


Additional -podcasts and edu talk radio interviews

Quoted in:

Gravel. R.J. (2015). Discover, Acknowledge, Commit: Guidelines for Adopting Administrative Software. School Administrator, December, 44-45.

DPS109 Science lab project was featured:

Johnsos, C., Monberg, G. (2015). Built on Value. Update, Fall (Facilties Isssue), 30-33.


Ullman, E. (2016). The Intelligent Use of Space. Tech & Learning Volume 36, Number 5, 34-38.


Received a 1997 Award of Excellence for Caring to Challenge, from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA)

Selected to represent Illinois on the Social Studies Teachers’ Study Seminar in Germany, sponsored by the ICSS and the Armonk Institute, 1995

  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Friday, 24 May 2019