What do you think of when you hear the word unlearn? Probably what I originally thought in that it is impossible to unlearn something. What if I told you it is not only possible but completely necessary? Maybe you would still be skeptical.

Thankfully, I’ve invited two special guests onto Anchored in Education this week to talk just about that: Unlearning.  Dr. Mike Lubelfeld and Dr. Nick Polyak first joined forces in 2010 after realizing they shared a common goal in educational approaches. Shortly thereafter, they collaborated to write their first book: The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today. They discuss in their book why educators must unlearn outdated practices in order to educate children in the present to prepare them for the future.

The Unlearning Leader is packed with thoughtful discussions and arguments that makes many of us stop and think.  In fact, at the beginning of each chapter they have a Stop-Think-Act section. Being an educator today is much more than just teaching. It is about approaching the educational process with a what’s best for students attitude instead what’s easiest for adults. 

The Unlearning Leaders

Both Mike and Nick earned an IASA School of Advanced Leadership Fellowship and they also graduated from the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program. They can be found on Twitter at @mikelubelfeld and @npolyak, and they co-moderate #suptchat – the monthly superintendent educational chat on Twitter. They co-authored the 2017 Rowman & Littlefield book The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today. They co-authored the 2018 Rowman & Littlefield book Student Voice: From Invisible to Invaluable with fellow Illinois superintendent PJ Caposey.

Mike Lubelfeld, Ed.D.

Mike currently serves as the superintendent of schools in the North Shore School District 112 in Highland Park, and Highwood, IL.  He earned his Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction from Loyola University of Chicago, where his published dissertation was on Effective Instruction in Middle School Social Studies. He is also on the adjunct faculty at National Louis University in the Department of Educational Leadership. Nick is the proud superintendent of the award-winning Leyden Community High School District 212.  He earned his undergraduate degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, his Masters from Governors State University, and his Ed.D. from Loyola University Chicago. He has been a classroom teacher and coach, a building and district level administrator, a School Board member, and a superintendent for the past eight years in both central Illinois and suburban Chicago.  Mike has been married to his wife Stephanie for the past 16 years and they have two children.​

Nick Polyak, Ed.D.

Nick is the proud superintendent of the award-winning Leyden Community High School District 212.  He earned his undergraduate degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, his Masters from Governors State University, and his Ed.D. from Loyola University Chicago. He has been a classroom teacher and coach, a building and district level administrator, a School Board member, and a superintendent for the past eight years in both central Illinois and suburban Chicago. Nick has been married to his wife Kate for the past 19 years and they have four children. 

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