Creating Vitality in Schools

“The future of humanity and our world is at the mercy of schools.
The education of our youth defines the continued success of our country.”
Shawn Brown-Brumfield, educator and author

Education is critical to creating and preserving the ecosystem of humanity. As the world grows smaller due to technological advancements, it will be the language of humanity that allows us to connect in a harmonious way as a human race. Education is a vehicle to achieving global awareness and unity.

In a changing world, education must support the advancement of mankind, racial accord, technology, and effective communication. Schools are charged with the task of educating students in a way that will create global harmony and economic growth. The role that education plays in our world is so vast and vital to the progress of all things that enhance our planet socially and economically. Now more than ever, we as a country must take a serious look at education as we know it today. The world keeps turning, but education seems to be standing still.

The state of education continues to tell the same story, and that narrative has to change. To ensure that the world is continuously fueled year after year, decade after decade, and century after century, schools must have tools to create and maintain vitality. According to, vitality is the “capacity for survival or for the continuation of a meaningful or purposeful existence.” It is further described as the “power to live, grow, or develop.” Schools are essential to the advancement of humanity and our world; as such, it is imperative that educational leaders have the ability to create continuity of meaningful and purposeful existence for the long haul. In order to do so, schools should be considered forms of life that need sustenance to grow and thrive. Vitality in schools is equivalent to the heartbeat and breath of the human body. The decisions that educational leaders make are the heart and lungs of education, and the impact of those decisions will determine the strength of the heartbeat and breath, or its vitality. Ultimately, long-term vitality in schools will be determined by the actions that educational administrative leaders take and the outcome of their decisions. Vitality can and will be created when there is an intentional effort to support the immediate and future success of schools, which is predicated on the high academic performance and accomplishments of all students.

Vitality in schools, like other businesses, requires leaders to be progressive thinkers with an eye on longevity. Far too often, educators are myopic in their vision and planning. The idea of vitality in schools involves not only sustainability and progress—it involves thriving long-term. Vitality should be part of the conversation when planning and setting goals, and that means taking a close look at how school business and management decisions, at all levels, impact student learning over 3-10 years. Forecasting and ongoing evaluation of policies and procedures in all areas of school business and operations have to include long-term projections in curriculum planning, instructional design, human resources, fiscal impact, and facilities, among many others.

To survive and thrive every successive decade, schools must predict future educational trends and models based on social, political, economic, and technological developments. Factors that schools need to consider when building the capacity to thrive are long-term strategic planning, technological advancements, adaptability, political climate, and quality vs. quantity.

Long-Term Strategic Planning

Future planning is the bedrock of vitality in schools. Long-term strategic planning puts educational leaders in the driver’s seat of school success. As school leaders construct a vision of vitality, a 3–5-year strategic plan needs to be created that outlines and measures where the school is in terms of meeting their overall mission and vision, as well as determines what needs to occur moving forward to achieve the school’s goals. The strategic plan provides a built-in structure that calls for consistent assessment and reevaluation of practices to ensure that they are meeting the ultimate goal of student achievement. By anticipating how time will influence education and business practices, administrators and leaders can better acclimate to educational conditions and advancements in the future.

The advancement of technology is integral to every school’s strategic planning.

Technological Advancements

The Information Age was born from the advancement of technology, which makes technology synonymous with education. It is the most viable channel for accessing existing information, and it continually generates new knowledge. Embracing the information and technology age is the first step in producing vitality in schools. As information becomes readily available with new technology, it is imperative that students are provided with access, resources, knowledge, skills, and connectivity to keep pace with technological improvements and remain academically and socially relevant.

The expansion of technology has a direct effect on the future success of students. College and career preparedness relies heavily on technology. When students graduate from high school, they need to possess advanced technology skills, competencies, and confidence to be competitive in college and ultimately find success in the workforce. For students to develop technological expertise, teachers have to maintain an advanced level of technology skills themselves and incorporate technology into their regular instructional practices. Ongoing professional development centered around technology is necessary to support student growth and the implementation of practices that support technology instruction and learning. Being aware of current and future technological advancements is fundamental to providing students with a quality education.

In addition to the classroom, business operations must also maintain technological infrastructures that improve efficiency in record-keeping, internal and external communication, productivity, and overall quality of service. The enhanced efficiency and systems that these innovations can deliver are essential to maintaining school vitality. Having the ability to adapt to ever-changing technology is imperative to a school’s progress.


The ability to adapt is also important to the goal of creating vitality in schools. The future of education is determined by many factors that are sometimes unpredictable. Being able to adapt to unforeseen changes or situations allows schools to adjust their sails to the changing winds and currents of educational circumstances. This allows schools to avoid disruption to the mission and vision of the school. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic was a telltale sign of how essential adaptation is to surviving and thriving in the educational world. Schools that were able to transition to distance learning with relative ease were able to maximize teaching and learning.

Recognizing change is a natural part of life. Educators need to process and embrace the importance of adaptability. The inability to adapt to changing circumstances will lead schools into stagnation and will have serious consequences on the school and student performance. All staff members have to be willing to engage with the vicissitudes of change that affect education because the success of each school is ultimately a group effort. The resilience of the staff will determine the school’s capacity to adapt expeditiously to technological advancements, social and economic impact, and political changes.

Political Climate

Political leaders have a huge influence on education. They are constantly creating bills and laws that have a direct impact on our schools. Politicians make decisions based on experiences, beliefs, assumptions, and trends. Special interest groups often influence political decisions by pressuring politicians to support what they consider important for students and schools. With different agendas in play, educators need to keep a finger on the pulse of the political climate. This makes it possible to navigate the implementation of educational policies and adjust to any modifications at the school site in a way that minimizes any potential damage to the progress of student achievement. As political leaders enter and exit office, a revolving door of policies will negatively or positively affect education. Amid the uncertainty and changing political mood, leaders in education can support their staff by being ready to implement new policies efficiently so staff can remain focused on maintaining the quality of ongoing educational practices.

Quality vs. Quantity

Being better is always the goal. Oftentimes educational leaders buy into the misnomer that more is better. But the goal should always be to focus on quality, not quantity. Over the years, pressure has been placed on administrators to produce high scores on standardized tests. This has caused a frenzy because administrators are compelled to justify low scores and articulate what they are going to do differently to get better results. It encourages dog-and-pony shows to pacify district leaders, parents, and the community. It’s a way to create the illusion of progress, when in truth there is a lot of insignificant work going on that will not contribute to student success. A whole lot of nothing is not the answer.

Quality over quantity should always be the focus when implementing new strategies to meet standards. The saying “less is more” holds true in education. Quality and substance over quantity and shallowness produce the best outcomes. Always doing more is not sustainable, so educators need to be thoughtful about the changes they commit to implementing. Furthermore, focusing on too many things at once can be overwhelming for teachers and staff and can compromise their ability to be effective. Quality work at the school site is more impactful and increases the likelihood of achieving the best results, both in terms of the broader educational goals and providing students with an excellent education.

Creating quality schools can be challenging, especially given the bureaucratic system of operations inherent in the public education sector. Districts and schools need elasticity, not bureaucracy, to advance organically. When leaders in education are bound to bureaucratic structure, creativity is stifled, causing morale and other emotions to take a negative turn. This rigidness also prevents educational practices from evolving with the social climate and technological advances. Bureaucratic practices work against vitality because schools get hung up on past or present successes and/or failures. Regardless of the situation, looking in the rearview mirror perpetuates stagnation. Moving forward towards vitality is essential to the ongoing success in schools.

In order for vitality to be incorporated into the fabric of school practices, educational leaders must include long-term strategic planning, technological advancements, adaptability, awareness of the political climate, and a quality vs. quantity approach in the conversation when planning and setting goals.


Over the past 25 years, I have gained a lot of knowledge and wisdom about education and the operations of schools, and I feel obligated and honored to share what I’ve learned. I am confident that the more schools we have that are effective, the greater impact education will have on society.

It is so important for educators to reveal what they have learned to be best practices. Educators who are purpose-driven have an innate ability to learn and teach. They are eager to collaborate and share their experiences and knowledge. The more intentional educators become in their practice, the greater the impact they will have on the educational community. The process of building great schools and strengthening education as a whole is a collective effort. We have to continuously work together to get better. There are always trials to overcome. It is an uphill battle, but the ability to overcome obstacles and get to the peak will allow educators to reap the intangible rewards that await those who are committed. The view from the top is amazing and exhilarating. Purpose-driven educators are not deterred by roadblocks or challenges, and they do not give up on the mission—they persevere.

The Purpose-Driven School was written in response to a need to examine education through a fresh lens. The future of humanity and our world is at the mercy of our schools. The education of our youth defines the continued success of our country. This reality places a huge responsibility on schools and educators to educate with excellence and provide all students with a quality education. The Purpose-Driven School was written to aid educational leaders in their quest to design quality schools, and the content of these pages includes information and practical applications to further that goal. This book will help good schools transition to great and will help resuscitate schools that are failing or have lost momentum. Foundational and fundamental principles that will support school vitality are presented in this text. School vitality should be the ultimate goal for educators, parents, politicians, and the community. Implementing policies and practices that build vitality should be the goal for educational leaders. What vitality looks like changes with the times, and it is imperative that leaders of the profession have the ability to predict and adapt to shifts in education.

In addition to vitality, this book also discusses the importance vision plays in the success of a school. It includes best practices and procedures to follow when hiring that will lead to constructing the ideal educational team, holistic leadership, and a view of education as a business that provides a service. It also takes a look at the importance of the partnership a teacher has with parents and students. The final thoughts of the book address the achievement gap and effects the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has had on education and how equity is the leading force in the evolution of educational reform and the progress of humanity.

Ultimately, this book was written to spark an educational movement led by current and next generation leaders who have been called to create change in the educational system and practices. This book will provide educational leaders of today and tomorrow with strategies and common-sense practices that will stand the test of time. Anyone who is invested in the future of America should read this book (educators, community leaders, politicians, parents, corporate leaders, etc.). Quality education is the missing link to eradicating social ills and making the world thrive. Education shapes our future, so we cannot afford to lose sight of its impact on humanity. The social and political climate is calling for change and serving our youth through education is a social justice that must be a priority. Acting as guardians of our youth, educators are in a unique position to lead the charge. As we move forward toward creating quality schools, we must always begin with a love for all children.



Chapter Summary

  • Education is essential to preserving the ecosystem of humanity.
  • In a changing world, education will support the advancement of mankind, racial accord, technology, and effective communication.
  • To ensure that the world is progressing year after year, schools need the tools to create and maintain vitality.
  • Vitality requires an intentional effort to support the immediate and future success of schools, which is predicated on high academic performance of all students.
  • Vitality in schools requires leaders to be progressive thinkers.
  • Factors that schools need to consider when building vitality are long-term strategic planning, technological advancements, adaptability, the changing political climate, and an ongoing commitment to quality.
  • Future planning is the bedrock of establishing vitality in schools.
  • Technology facilitates the discovery and application of knowledge.
  • It is imperative that students are provided with the resources, accessibility, knowledge, and skills to keep pace with technological advancements and are academically and socially relevant.
  • For students to maintain a high level of technological expertise, teachers must incorporate technology in their instructional practices.
  • Anticipating current and future technological advancements is fundamental to providing students with a quality education.
  • Political leaders have a huge influence on education. Keeping a pulse on the political climate allows educators to navigate the implementation of educational policies.
  • It is important to focus on quality over quantity when implementing new practices.
  • Educational bureaucracy impedes the flexibility that districts and schools need to advance organically.
  • Quality education is essential to eradicating social ills and making the world thrive.