KDSL Global interviews Valda Valbrun

Valbrun Consulting Logo

Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Valda Valbrun, CEO of The Valbrun Consulting Group. This group was started by a teacher and is committed to leadership and equity is shaped by their own experiences as students, teachers, and leaders. Their goal is to build the capacity of leaders to address inequities and create organizational cultures that honor diversity.

What services does The Valbrun Consulting Group offer? 

We offer strategic planning and technical support to K-12 school districts. We help districts develop their strategic plans as well as help them to manage and execute the strategies. As a former school principal and district leader myself, I recognize that schools and districts sometimes benefit from a fresh set of eyes to help them audit existing initiatives and review data to determine the return of investments. We also help build the capacity of teachers and leaders to lead efforts for school improvement and we are especially committed to ensuring that they do so in a way that honors diversity and commits to creating equitable environments in schools.

 

 

Tell us about your leadership development training.

We provide professional development and coaching that equips leaders with skills, tools and the ability to advance improvement efforts. We work with aspiring and new leaders to support them as they advance towards the principal role, and work to support experienced school leaders, principal supervisors and district personnel as they demonstrate commitment to personal and professional growth, including in their development of cultural proficiency and the management of diverse teams.

 

We work to determine client’s specific needs and use a co-design model to develop the appropriate supports. We believe that developing leaders is part of a journey and that leadership can often feel like a lonely job, so we strive to support leaders by being a thought partner, and helping them to advance the mission and vision of the organization.

 

 

What are some strategies to improve workplace culture and teamwork?

I think workplace culture is essential to having high performing teams! If nothing else, I see that as the most important part of any leader’s job – to create and model the type of culture where employees feel valued and respected and as if they are a part of something, that without them, couldn’t be. That requires a real commitment to people and a willingness to lead with both your head and your heart. It requires strong emotional intellect and the ability to make genuine connections with others. As they say, people don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses- so it’s important to set the tone from the top, that demonstrates a solid culture of respect and team-building.

 

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Ms. Valda Valbrun is an established Educational Leader known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy, a system change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change educational practices and establish systems, and a dynamic Professional Developer, Teacher, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Student Champion. She has worked with national school districts on Leadership Development and Executive Coaching and provides coaching and training to aspiring, newly appointed and experienced principals and has worked as a school turn-around partner.

She started her career over 25 years ago as a teacher in the Broward County (FL) schools before becoming a Professional Developer and secondary school administrator in Montgomery County (MD). She has a strong background in school administration, having served as a middle school principal. She is committed to professional development and closing achievement gaps and never waivers in her commitment to instructional and leadership improvement, both on the macro-level of a school system and on the micro-level of an individual classroom teacher and leader. She has taken these experiences and founded The Valbrun Consulting Group where she serves as the CEO.

Ms. Valbrun works directly with school and district leaders to advance improvement initiatives and understands that leaders must be lifelong learners and that better solutions come from groups with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Her experience includes work in rural, suburban, and large, urban districts and she currently provides leadership training, coaching and consulting across the country in addition to providing training specifically to build Culturally Proficient Leaders.

Ms. Valbrun received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a Master of Science degree in Education from Nova Southeastern University. She also completed post-graduate certification in School Administration and Leadership at Johns Hopkins University. She is a trained executive coach and Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)© Qualified Administrator. In addition to her school and district level leadership roles, Ms. Valbrun has also served as the Director of Professional Learning at ASCD and as the Executive Director of Organizational Development for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, where she currently resides.

KDSL Global Education Branding Project

startupwordcloud

Are you interested in becoming an education consultant? Starting up a new education company? Scaling up your education business?

Then join KDSL Global during 14-21 July 2019 for the Education Branding Project. This week long online journey will provide you with daily tasks leading to a toolkit.

For cost and more information email kdslglobalinfo@gmail.com.

 

Testimonials from Education Entrepreneurs

“Thank you, Kevin, for being an invaluable resource! As you know, I am new to the world of education consulting and you are the ONLY resource I have found to answer my questions related to building the business. You not only provided timely responses to all of my questions, but also you have made me feel comfortable about asking those sensitive kinds of questions, like pricing, that I cannot answer on my own. You are a wealth of information, and I appreciate your willingness to share your expertise individually and through the upcoming workshop.”

“Kevin Simpson has a talent for a conveying in simple steps something daunting like starting a consult ing business. During the week-long gig Kevin guides you with practical information and motivation to keep you going to achieve your goals. It’s a great way to connect with others and start to build your ED network.”

“My work with Kevin Simpson through his ED Branding program has been an incredible resource for me as I establish my consulting business. Not only did I learn a lot during the initial sessions, Kevin’s continued support and referrals have been invaluable to me.”

KDSL Global Education Branding Project

startupwordcloud

 

Are you interested in becoming an education consultant? Starting up a new education company? Scaling up your education business?

Then join KDSL Global during  10-16 February 2019 for the Education Branding Project. This week long online journey will provide you with daily tasks as you work towards your goal.

For more information email KDSLglobalinfo@gmail.com.

 

Testimonials from Education Entrepreneurs

“Thank you, Kevin, for being an invaluable resource! As you know, I am new to the world of education consulting and you are the ONLY resource I have found to answer my questions related to building the business. You not only provided timely responses to all of my questions, but also you have made me feel comfortable about asking those sensitive kinds of questions, like pricing, that I cannot answer on my own. You are a wealth of information, and I appreciate your willingness to share your expertise individually and through the upcoming workshop.”

“Kevin Simpson has a talent for a conveying in simple steps something daunting like starting a consult ing business. During the week-long gig Kevin guides you with practical information and motivation to keep you going to achieve your goals. It’s a great way to connect with others and start to build your ED network.”

“My work with Kevin Simpson through his ED Branding program has been an incredible resource for me as I establish my consulting business. Not only did I learn a lot during the initial sessions, Kevin’s continued support and referrals have been invaluable to me.”

World Stars Education

China

KDSL Global Founder Kevin Simpson served as a Teacher Consultant with World Stars Education in Guangzhou, China on a five week project during November-December 2018.

About World Stars Education

The mission of World Stars Education is to become a 100% focused college preparation academic management company for international students. Our goal is to provide a clear education planning with academic, life, culture and social integration supporting system for every student who studies in the United States. We help every international student to adapt to a new life in the United States with an integrated, innovative and unique plan. We provide a comprehensive system includes best-fit school match, customized educational plan, academic monitoring and independent life education. We offer the smoothest and seamless integration of academic and life-supporting management in the United States. We expect every student from World Stars Education to become a well-rounded student and get accepted by the world-acclaimed universities/colleges.

 

 

KDSL Global Education Branding Project

startupwordcloud

Are you interested in becoming an education consultant? Starting up a new education company? Scaling up your education business?

Then join KDSL Global during  22-28 July 2018 for the Education Branding Project. This week long online journey will provide you with daily tasks leading to a toolkit.

For more information email kdslglobalinfo@gmail.com.

 

Testimonials from previous participants:

“Thank you, Kevin, for being an invaluable resource! As you know, I am new to the world of education consulting and you are the ONLY resource I have found to answer my questions related to building the business. You not only provided timely responses to all of my questions, but also you have made me feel comfortable about asking those sensitive kinds of questions, like pricing, that I cannot answer on my own. You are a wealth of information, and I appreciate your willingness to share your expertise individually and through the upcoming workshop.”

“My work with Kevin Simpson through his ED Branding program has been an incredible resource for me as I establish my consulting business. Not only did I learn a lot during the initial sessions, Kevin’s continued support and referrals have been invaluable to me.”

“Kevin Simpson has a talent for conveying in simple steps something daunting like starting a consulting business. During the week-long gig Kevin guides you with practical information and motivation to keep you going to achieve your goals. It’s a great way to connect with others and start to build your ED network.”

 

 

KDSL Global Education Branding Project

StartupWordCloud

 

Are you interested in becoming an education consultant? Starting up a new education company? Scaling up your education business?

Then join KDSL Global during  14-21 January 2018 for the Education Branding Project. This week long online journey will provide you with daily tasks leading to a toolkit.

For more information email Kevin Simpson @ kevin@kdslglobal.com.

 

Testimonials from Education Entrepreneurs

“Thank you, Kevin, for being an invaluable resource! As you know, I am new to the world of education consulting and you are the ONLY resource I have found to answer my questions related to building the business. You not only provided timely responses to all of my questions, but also you have made me feel comfortable about asking those sensitive kinds of questions, like pricing, that I cannot answer on my own. You are a wealth of information, and I appreciate your willingness to share your expertise individually and through the upcoming workshop.”

“Kevin Simpson has a talent for a conveying in simple steps something daunting like starting a consult ing business. During the week-long gig Kevin guides you with practical information and motivation to keep you going to achieve your goals. It’s a great way to connect with others and start to build your ED network.”

“My work with Kevin Simpson through his ED Branding program has been an incredible resource for me as I establish my consulting business. Not only did I learn a lot during the initial sessions, Kevin’s continued support and referrals have been invaluable to me.”

10 to know in education in the UAE in 2017

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In celebration of ten years serving the global education community we are highlighting ten to know in education in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) in 2017. The UAE was selected since the founder has been based here the majority of the last ten years. Each person will be shared throughout this year. Our ninth person to know is Dr. Sudha Sunder.

Sudha started her teaching career in 1999 and has taught students from grade 2 through grade 12. She currently serves as an Affiliate Consultant for the Council of International Schools and Associate Consultant for KDSL Global.

A post-graduate diploma holder in computer science, and a Master’s degree holder in Business Administration and Accountancy, she became a part of the IB community in 2006 and taught the IB Course Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS), and soon became an examiner in the subject. Although Sudha was quickly drawn to the interdisciplinary nature of this subject and the IB philosophy of teaching for deep conceptual understanding versus the regurgitation of factual knowledge, she also experienced and resonated with the challenges teachers faced in putting curriculum design principles (that they appreciated in theory) into practice.

Inspired by her own experiences, Sudha decided to certify with Dr. Lynn Erickson in concept-based curriculum and instruction, at the Lynn Erickson Institute in Whitefish, Montana, USA, in 2011. Ever since, she has become a much sought after facilitator in many IB schools for coaching teachers in concept-based curriculum and instruction. Currently, her work spans over seven countries.

An introduction to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) happened while she was serving as the head of the curriculum committee at the Universal American School in Dubai, UAE. As a curriculum design enthusiast, she was very drawn towards the three-dimensional structure of the NGSS and the NGSS’s potential to foster interdisciplinary teaching at the conceptual level (through the crosscutting concepts) and to put into classroom practice the factual and conceptual elements in science learning. She took on every opportunity that would allow engagement in understanding, unpacking and debating on the potential challenges involved in adopting and implementing the NGSS.

In 2013, she presented a paper at the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Common Core Conference convened in Dubai. This was followed by a number of hands-on interactive workshops at conferences and schools that particularly focused on enabling teachers unpack and understand the crosscutting concept component of the NGSS. During this time, she also published an article titled “Fostering Scientific Inquiry through the NGSS” in the Teach UAE Magazine.

It was around this time that Sudha became a Curriculum Reviewer in the IB, Maryland, USA, for a pilot project called “Building a Quality curriculum”. Through this project Sudha reviewed and offered feedback for PYP curriculum documents (both Units of Inquiry and Programmes of Inquiry) for schools in the United States, Europe and India.

The more Sudha mentored, trained, and worked with teachers in curriculum and instruction, the stronger she was convinced that while teachers understand and appreciate the value and notion of teaching for conceptual understanding, putting this into practice in the classroom is indeed challenging. Sudha strongly believes that understanding curriculum design principles involved in three-dimensional concept-based curriculum and instruction is key to addressing this challenge. At present, Sudha continues to present workshops and papers to empower teachers in American IB schools across countries such as Kuwait, Oman, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, UAE, Qatar and India.

As a part-time doctoral research student at the University of Bath in the UK (since 2008), Sudha also decided to explore teacher perceptions in school-based curriculum development initiatives as her doctoral dissertation, which she eventually defended in 2015, with none other than Professor Jeff Thompson and Professor David Phillips from Oxford. Sudha believes that she cleared her viva with no further recommendations or modifications is testimonial to the many teacher voices she has gathered over her work spanning over 7 years in IB/international schools. Sudha’s doctoral dissertation Abstract is now published on SAGE. Sudha writes and publishes articles on the role of ongoing professional development for international educators. A recent one can be accessed here: http://www.cois.org/page.cfm?p=3078

 

Sudha believes that her own journey of learning and transitioning as a teacher in the IB programme and her passion for fostering scientific inquiry amongst students through real-world connection and sustained inquiry has been instrumental in digging deeper into the NGSS. This, along with her strong understanding of curriculum design principles involved in unpacking and implementing three-dimensional curricular frameworks provided her with the knowledge, understanding, skills and experience to explore the breadth and the depth of the NGSS, particularly so in helping IB educators see how the two complement each other in a powerful “synergistic” (Erickson, 2012) fashion. Commissioned by the IB, Sudha has co-authored the IB-NGSS Dual Implementation Report now available for IB schools in the US, available here: http://blogs.ibo.org/blog/2016/12/09/aligning-the-next-generation-science-standards- ngss-with-ib-curricula/

Sudha’s wider research interest includes the role of ongoing professional development for 21st century teachers. Sudha presented her research findings in 2015 at the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies (AAACS) at the George Washington University, D.C. She has now been invited to serve as a member of the AAACs Task force.

More about Sudha’s work in curriculum and Instruction can be accessed here:

https://www.tlinternational.org/