The Risks and Rewards of K-12 Educational Entrepreneurism (2/6 at 7 p.m.)

The Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life and the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship present

The Risks and Rewards of K-12 Educational Entrepreneurism

Thursday, February 6
7-8:30 p.m.
Allbritton 311

Presented by: Dr. Jack Leonard, Assistant Professor,
Department of Leadership in Education, University of Massachusetts Boston

America has a long tradition of entrepreneurism, which is admired around the world. The entrepreneurial leadership style is central to our American democratic image as the land of opportunity. And in K-12 schooling, hardly a day goes by without an appeal for entrepreneurial leaders who can “think outside the box.” However, there is also widespread skepticism about entrepreneurism in education, which often implies larger-than-life leaders who are willing to take questionable risks in a fiercely competitive market – hardly the ideal environment for children.

Large-scale educational challenges, such as college readiness, the achievement gap and serving increasing numbers of English language learners are not technical challenges, which can be addressed with current know-how, but adaptive challenges, which call for out-of-the box thinking – the greatest strength of entrepreneurial leadership. Is there a place for this kind of leadership in public education?

This leadership style has many manifestations and a more sophisticated conceptualization will allow more informed judgment on the perils and promises of this leadership style. A review of 100 years of literature from the fields of business and social sciences sheds light on the entrepreneurial leadership style. The spirit of entrepreneurism has an essential place, which must be understood and restored in public education.


About the Presenter

Jack LeonardJack Leonard joined the faculty of UMass Boston’s Leadership in Urban Schools program in 2008, after 35 years of service as a teacher, administrator and school founder in public, private and parochial education at every level pre-K to 12. His research interests include entrepreneurial leadership, teacher leadership, school/community partnerships (including several early college high schools), college readiness and educational history. He teaches courses in leadership, research design and American urban educational history.

Professor Leonard is the 2014 Harber Fellow at Wesleyan this semester, where he is teaching CSPL345 Entrepreneurship in Education: Past, Present and Future.



Support for this event is provided by the Harber Fellowship in Education and Entrepreneurship and the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life. Questions should be directed to the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. In case of inclement weather on February 6, the lecture will be rescheduled for February 13.