As described in the Frameworks section, the presence of a Backbone Organization is essential for achieving collective impact. Collective Leadership begins within one’s agency or organization and extends outward, harnessing the energy, commitment and resources of multiple stakeholders. Effective organizational leadership within a state or local education agency stems from a common purpose, singular mission, and aligned efforts matched by an appropriate organizational structure where resources, communication and accountability prevail.


Each individual within a state or local agency is unlikely to possess sufficient background knowledge and skills to tackle important issues, but it should exist collectively within the agency or an awareness of its necessity so it may be secured outside of the institution. Components of highly effective organizations have been identified by organizational leaders (Covey, 1998) and traditional models of leadership have been re-examined and challenged (Senge, 1995). In Defining Highly Effective Offices of Early Learning in State Education Agencies and Early Learning Agencies – A CEELO Vision Paper  (Connors-Tadros, Martella, & Grafwallner, 2017), key features contributing to organizational effectiveness have been specifically applied to early education agencies operating within states.


Covering the broad continuum of pre-K or birth through third grade, early education leaders in SEAs and LEAs are in a powerful position to shepherd strategic change within their agencies and beyond. In Strategic performance for your branch: Organizing people and their work in an LEA or SEA division or strand (2017), authors  Redding & Layland from the Building State Capacity and Productivity Center outline actions similar to other models in the Frameworks section of the toolkit that can be useful to state and local leaders.


By its very nature, collective leadership implies collaboration. Effective organizations are most successful when they are organized and sufficiently resourced to be productive, capable of developing a critical mass for change and building momentum among diverse followers within and outside of their organization. (See this video for an example – The Lone Nut + a First Follower = A MOVEMENT!)


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