Thought Leaders Network

Welcome to the Thought Leaders Network!

The philosopher Arthur Schopenhaur said "every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world." In our Thought Leaders Network, we would like to expand your vision about the world of RTI, thus equipping you to be a leader who takes bold steps in effectively advancing your work on behalf of our schools and our students. We've tapped the thinking of visionary leaders in a range of disciplines (business, visual arts, literature, technology and more), giving you access to their best thinking about the cutting edge and future directions of their fields. Then the key national leaders in RTI provide you their commentary on how advances in these fields can inform and advance the RTI movement, expanding and enhancing your work with an eye on future contexts.

We invite you to explore the stimulating visions of these exceptional Thought Leaders and use them to create your own vision. Enjoy!

Doug Fuchs: The Role of Collaboration in School Success
Collaboration is essential to the success of RTI. But we must ask, what kind of collaboration? Doug Fuchs, Ph.D. (Professor and Nicholas Hobbs Chair in Special Education and Human Development, co-director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Reading Clinic, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University) discusses the role of collaboration in schools in comparison to collaboration in corporate environments as outlined in the Teamwork and Collaboration video featuring John Chambers, CEO of Cisco. Dr. Fuchs also explores the importance of specialization. He asserts that achieving the mission of today’s schools will require collaboration among experts in instruction, assessment, and behavior support.  

Key Ideas from Teamwork and Collaboration video:

John Chambers explains how abandoning command-and-control leadership has enabled the company to innovate more quickly, using collaboration and teamwork. He describes:

  • moving from command-and-control to collaboration and teamwork
  • making this happen through process, a common vocabulary, and resource allocation
  • allowing groups or teams to think together in order to drive change
  • needing up to 6 years for this to be incorporated “into the DNA” of Cisco

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Steve Kukic: Engaging Diverse Audiences
What do the art world and the world of education have in common?  They each serve a diverse audience with ever changing needs and interests.  In this segment of the Thought Leaders Network Series, Stevan Kukic, Vice President of Strategic Sales Initiatives at Cambium Learning/Voyager, draws connections between the education world and the art world building off of an interview with Richard Koshalek, Director of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC, on innovations in the visual arts arena.

Gather insights into how the changing landscape of academic instruction – with the inclusion of new technologies, increased attention to individual needs and use of student data – is great news for all learners and how embracing innovations have the potential to increase achievement for all.

Key Ideas from the Richard Koshalek Interview:
  • The museum is expanding their vision to include new disciplines in contemporary art and incorporating projects using multiple media to reach a more diverse audience of museum attendees and talent pool of new artists.
  • A cross disciplinary approach pushes the boundaries of art
  • The notion of art is expanding to integrate new technologies that engage audiences
  • The field for art has moved beyond the four walls of the museum in a positive way to reach people through their smart phones or in unexpected places like a mural in an urban setting.

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Lynn Fuchs: Rethinking RTI Practices a Decade Later

We’ve all come to expect continuous innovation and change in the technologies we use on a daily basis where companies are constantly working to refine and improve the next generation or increase functionality of innovations. RTI is an innovation that began to take hold about 10 years ago. Are there RTI practices that made sense a decade ago which now require re‐thinking in light of the continuous search for refinements and improvements in our field?

Lynn S. Fuchs, Ph.D. (Professor of Special Education; Nicholas Hobbs Professor of Special Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University) responds to this question and discusses the concept of continuous innovation and improvement exemplified in Apple’s video Introducing the iPad 2. Dr. Fuchs also offers examples of how innovations in practices and research in the area of RTI benefit students and educators, leading to greater success in schools.


Key Ideas from Apple video:

  • iPad designers discuss the improvements and innovations in the latest version. They mention “constantly working to refine and improve” the “next generation” and “increase functionality” of their innovations.
  • Everyone has come to expect continuous innovation and change in the technologies we use on a daily basis. Do we put that same mind-set on seeking out and expecting ongoing refinements in our work?

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Don Deshler Discusses Rita Dove
Donald D. Deshler, Ph.D. (Professor , School of Education and Director, Center for Research on Learning (CRL) at the University of Kansas; member of NCLD’ Professional Advisory Board) discusses the ideas of Rita Dove, M.F.A. (Commonwealth Professor of English, University of Virginia in Charlottesville; 1993 Poet Laureate) on creating learning environments that embrace and respond to a range of learners with sensitivity to literacy needs from an interview on, Rita Dove on the Future of Literature.

Key Ideas from Rita Dove’s Interview:
  • “With the advent of technology and cyberspace and iPads and Kindle, I feel change happening even at the level of composition. In the past, a reader had to rely upon the author to supply all the details of what it was like to hike in Nepal, let’s say. Thanks to search engines, now you can quickly look at up, and that’s going to change the way literature is written.”
  • “As we become more multicultural and able to look at each corner of the world, the more at ease we are with our differences. And we are going to be more comfortable reading something about experiences which are, on the surface, very different from ours. Yet we’ll still feel confident that we can access the common humanity.”

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See all entries in the archive.