leadership Archives - The Jose Vilson


On Leadership Through Teaching Others To Lead

by Jose Vilson on February 21, 2013

in Jose

Denzel Washington as Malcolm X

Denzel Washington as Malcolm X

Every year, the memory of this day usually sucks.

The night before I went to Raleigh, North Carolina (for a Center for Teaching Quality board meeting), I went to my barbershop, where the guys played Malcolm X (the Spike Lee joint). I watch this movie almost annually, just to remind myself of the way this country still throws around the idea of an American dream, but always conveniently bury dissenters either physically or out of the zeitgeist in short order. The more promising the revolution, the quicker the silencing takes place.

Fast forward to today, where the definition of leadership in racially-marginalized communities have been diluted to a few pillars: MLK, Rosa, and Malcolm X. We can throw in Cesar Chavez for good measure, but the conversation doesn’t go too far from that. While many people yearn for those men as their leaders, their perception of what it takes to lead a people comes from a contrived martyrdom or, worse still, a legion of people who pick apart elements from men from the past and try to “update” the style in present-day form.

In other words, we got lots of copies, each of them charismatic as the next, but with little to no substance.

Except for the occasional Van Jones or NAACP President Ben Jealous, what we deem as black leadership may have the look of advocacy and critical thought, yet it lacks the people’s edge. Eddie S. Glaude explains:

All too often what stands in for the black intellectual these days are folks who can spin a phrase and offer a soundbite. The idea of the intellectual who reads widely and deeply and who critically engages the complexity of our times has been supplanted by the fast-talking “black Ph.D. pundit” who strives to be on CNN, Fox or MSNBC. This same pundit has found new career opportunities within universities and colleges by thinking about black people in ways that conform to the current liberal consensus about racial matters.

Ah. Well, as often as people get mesmerized by the speeches and pizzazz, they often allow these people to hurt our communities’ voice in the name of getting on mainstream media. Instead, I prefer we look at our leaders’ best asset: the ability to stand next to the next man and teach him how to lead as well, inspire them to be their better selves.

Malcolm did that. I’m usually not one to write on someone’s passing day, but I just had to put that out there.

Jose, by any means necessary …


Short Notes: We Are Powerful Beyond Measure

by Jose Vilson on December 9, 2012

in Short Notes

Michael Jackson asks Manny Pacquiao If He’s OK

A few notes:


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson


Teach Others How To Lead, And Other Tips [Edutopia]

by Jose Vilson on November 8, 2012

in Mr. Vilson

Barack Obama Makes Calls

An excerpt from my latest Edutopia article:

Do: Teach Others How to Lead

Everyone has expertise in some way, shape or form. Some teachers have great organizing skills (who doesn’t need this?!). Others understand how to put together curriculum materials. Still others have mastered building great teacher-student relationships. Rather than focus on deficiencies, we can play to our colleagues’ strengths and ask them to lead a meeting or workshop on that specific talent. Also, we as teacher leaders can sit there and acquire the skill from that person and make it part of our arsenal. I haven’t met a teacher yet who didn’t share 85% of his or her secrets, especially if it’s to the benefit of the school.

Read it in its entirety at Edutopia. Comment. Share. Like. Recommend. Thank you!

Mr. Vilson, who loves this practitioner swag …

Us Against Them, Unless We Say You’re Not One Of Them

August 30, 2011 Jose
I'm Wherever Franklin Sits

Last night, I got into it with a few, well-established individuals of color over their union bashing. I’ll stop it there because every time I hear it from people of color, I often lay up a “whatthefuckisthisshit?” and then zip my mouth henceforth. The first time I saw it this summer, it came from a […]

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A Cautionary Note To Burgeoning Teacher Leaders [The Eagle vs The Hummingbird]

June 23, 2011 Mr. Vilson

Dear burgeoning teacher leader, Congratulations. You’ve been chosen / selected / promoted to a position of leadership in your school. Whether you’re an instructional coach, an assistant principal, or a lead teacher, your achievements up to this point merit applause. I hope that the benefits and challenges of the position you’re about to undertake in […]

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Voices of Concerned Educators: The Twilight Zone and How Affluence Perpetuates the Achievement Gap [C. Marquez]

March 24, 2010 Jose
twilight zone

“You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the sign post up ahead, your next stop…The Twilight Zone!” ~Rod Serling As an elementary school administrator, I currently work in the Twilight Zone. This environment […]

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