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2020 has brought uncertainty at every turn. Opening this school year in the midst of a global pandemic has created significant anxiety and a loss of sleep for all educators, regardless of position. With all the uncertainty and unexpected challenges, educators have been forced to reprioritize what they deem most important. Social-emotional learning, trauma, poverty, remote learning, and equity have risen to the top of the list in many places. 

As educators lead through uncertainty, how can they create a culture where both students and staff can thrive? How can they work to overcome fear and fail forward when things don’t go as planned? How can they best leverage the things that they still control? Regardless of what happens outside our school walls, educators are working diligently to create meaningful learning opportunities at a time when classrooms no longer are defined by the four walls within a school building. 

Thomas C. Murray, director of innovation for Future Ready Schools® (FRS) moderated a conversation with members of the FRS advisory team who represent each of the six FRS leadership strands. These dynamic school and district leaders shared the successes and challenges they have experienced as they navigated this time of uncertainty. 

During the webinar, guests discussed 

  • ways to create a culture where people want to be even amid anxiety and fear; 
  • lessons learned in navigating the pandemic; 
  • strategies that work, regardless of the learning location; and 
  • their vision forward. 



  • Dr. Jerry Almendarez, Superintendent, Santa Ana Unified School District (CA) (@JerryAlmendarez) 
  • Dr. Sanee Bell, Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction, Katy Independent School District (TX) (@SaneeBell)
  • Traci Johnson, Director of Innovation, ROWVA CUSD 208 (IL) (@tsuejohnson)
  • Dr. Adam Phyall, Director of Technology and Library Services, Newton County School System (GA) (@AskAdam3)
  • Josh Stumpenhorst, Learning Commons Director, Naperville Community Unit School District 203 (IL) (@stumpteacher)
  • Matt Miller, Superintendent, Lakota Public Schools (OH) (@LakotaSuper)
  • Thomas C. Murray, Director of Innovation, Future Ready Schools® (@thomascmurray) (moderator) 

For questions about the webinar, contact Lia Dossin.