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NESA Fall Leadership Conference 2019

Ellie Drago-Severson


Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY

ELLIE DRAGO-SEVERSON is a professor in the Education Leadership and Adult Learning & Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she is also the director of the PhD program in Education Leadership, and the faculty director and co-facilitator of the Leadership Institute for School Change. A developmental psychologist and internationally certified immunity to change-developmental coach, she teaches, researches, and consults with schools, districts, leaders, instructional coaches, and teachers on team and leadership development domestically and internationally.

Dr Drago-Severson is the author of the prizewinning, best-selling books, Helping Teachers Learn (Corwin/Sage, 2004), Leading Adult Learning (Corwin/Sage, 2009), Becoming Adult Learners (Teachers College Press, 2004), and Helping Educators Grow (Harvard Education Press, 2012), and coauthor of Learning for Leadership (Corwin/Sage, 2013), Learning Designs (Corwin/Sage, 2015), Tell Me So I Can Hear You (Harvard Education Press, 2016), and Leading Change Together (ASCD, 2018).


Currently she is examining how leaders lead on behalf of social justice and equity. Her work has earned awards from the Spencer Foundation, the Klingenstein Foundation, and Harvard University, where she served as faculty member for eight years and was awarded the Morningstar Award for Excellence in Teaching. Recently, Dr Drago-Severson received three outstanding teaching awards from Columbia University.

3-Hour Workshop #1

Tell Me So I Can Hear You: A Developmental Approach to Feedback

Connect & Engage

Feedback is more important today than ever before. In fact, offering feedback—so that others can hear us—is one of the most important ways we can support each other, transform our schools, and grow ourselves. Feedback is part of living and leading in our “new normal” world—and is vital to collaboration. Yet, when and where do we learn how to give feedback? How do we give feedback so that others can hear us, take it in, and act on it?

Drawing from Dr Drago-Severson's book, Tell Me So I Can Hear You: A Developmental Approach to Feedback for Educators (Harvard Education Press, 2016), this workshop offers an opportunity to connect to your practice and more deeply understand how to support growth by learning about a new, powerful, developmental approach to feedback.


In this workshop you will learn about the importance of intentionally differentiating feedback so that adults—who make sense of their experiences in qualitatively different ways—can best hear it, learn from it, and improve their instructional and leadership practice. You will have opportunities to learn, apply your learnings, develop action plans, and enhance your noble practice of supporting adult development through feedback for growth.

During the session, you will:

• Learn about adult developmental theory and its practical implications for leadership, coaching, professional development, supervision, building developmental teams—schools and systems—and more effective collaboration; and
• Explore practical strategies for enacting a developmental approach to feedback that others can best hear, take in, learn from, and act upon.

Reflect & Apply

You will have multiple opportunities to reflect on your practice of giving and receiving feedback and make connections to practices, strategies and theory related to a developmental approach to feedback for growth. You will have the chance to consider how a developmental approach to feedback giving and receiving can enhance practice.

You will also have opportunities to apply learnings, develop action plans to advance practice, and enhance your noble practice of feedback for growth, coaching, and practices that support adult development. You will benefit from engaging in collaborative, developmental action planning to apply key ideas to advance practice and building cultures of feedback for growth.

Target Audience:

All are welcome.

Continuum Levels:


Learn more about how NESA plans Professional Learning
NESA'S Learning Continuum:

3-Hour Workshop #2

Teaming & Engaging in Difficult Conversations: The Promise of a Developmental Approach

Connect & Engage

Are you working to transform your team into a place where adults collaborate, learn and lead more effectively together? Teaming and collaboration catalyze learning today in schools and systems. How can we help educators engage more effectively in teams, and turn toward difficult conversations/situations to enhance collaboration?

Drawing from the Dr Drago-Severson’s award-winning books, Leading Adult Learning and Leading Change Together, this workshop invites you to explore a new, developmental approach to teaming and capacity building in individuals, teams, schools, and systems. This approach to teaming and growth can help us to better manage the complex, adaptive challenges of teaching, leading, and learning in today’s fast-paced, educational world.


In this interactive workshop, you will:

• develop a workable understanding of adult developmental theory and practical strategies for supporting adult growth;
• learn about a developmental approach to teaming and engaging difficult conversations to enhance collaboration;
• explore developmentally appropriate practices for having critical conversations in teams that can be implemented in schools and systems; and
• develop skills for building structures and deliberatively developmental cultures that support individual and team growth, and strengthen teams.

You will have opportunities to learn, apply your learnings, develop action plans, and enhance your noble practice of supporting adult development and collaboration through teaming.

Reflect & Apply

Through mini-lecture, journaling, role playing, case discussion, dialogue, and action-planning, you will learn about, reflect on, and apply theory and practices for supporting individual and team development to improve collaboration, teaming, performance, and build capacity within teams, schools and systems.

Specifically, you will have opportunities to:

• Reflect on and apply adult-developmental theory and a developmental approach to teaming to your practice;
• Consider practical applications for collaboration, teaming, feedback, and leadership;
• Explore strategies and takeaways for enacting a developmental approach to teaming and critical conversations to yield productive outcomes from collaboration; and
• Develop action plans for building structures that can improve teams, enhance team work, and build deliberatively developmental, collaborative cultures, which attend to adults’ developmental diversity.

Target Audience:

All are welcome.

Continuum Levels:


Learn more about how NESA plans Professional Learning
NESA'S Learning Continuum:


Save paper and effort where possible!

For your convenience, and to support our efforts in being "green", all handouts/files posted here have been notated with an A, B, C or D indicating the following:

(A) hardcopies needed at workshop
(B) electronic version on laptop is sufficient (for viewing during the workshop)
(C) required reading PRIOR to the workshop
(D) file not needed for workshop itself, but simply material of additional interest/reference


Updates to handouts may be made until shortly before the start of the conference.