Apocalyptic Leadership in Education

Facing an Unsustainable World from Where We Stand

Edited by:
Vachel W. Miller, Appalachian State University

A volume in the series: Transforming Education for the Future. Editor(s): Jing Lin, University of Maryland. Rebecca L. Oxford, University of Maryland. Vachel W. Miller, Appalachian State University.

Published 2017

Mainstream educational leadership has lost much of its footing as a progressive practice. More managers than wisdom‐keepers, educational leaders no longer have authority to critique the toxicities of the present and imagine alternative futures. In public schools and higher education, the neoliberal emphasis on measurable outcomes shrinks the radius of concern for what educational leaders are leading toward. There’s a planet missing in mainstream discourses of sustainability in educational leadership, and this book aims to resituate the work of teaching/leading in the place where we stand.

In a period of overlapping social/environmental crises, this book takes inspiration from Robert Jensen’s call for teachers and intellectual leaders to “go apocalyptic”, i.e., to face head‐on the calamities that threaten our shared future on Earth. When leadership is situated within an apocalyptic context, we are called to reflect on educational injustice and unsustainability, while envisioning more hopeful futures. The work of apocalyptic leadership, though, isn’t all about future vision; it’s also about attending to what hurts and what heals in the present moment. Intended for aspiring and practicing educational leaders in both K‐12 and higher education settings, as well as scholars in the fields of social justice and sustainability, this book begins mapping and traversing the affective, spiritual, pragmatic, and organizational geography of apocalyptic leadership. Such leadership holds dear the radical belief in our shared capacity to work gracefully with the painful awareness that tremendous challenges are inevitable, and yet, we have every opportunity for inching toward a more habitable future.

Introduction: How to Carry On? Enduring the Predicaments of Apocalyptic Leadership Gracefully. PART I: TEACHING AND LEADING IN AN APOCALYPTIC MOMENT. Apocalyptic Teaching: Facing Our Fears and Teaching Through Tears, Robert Jensen. The Eco‐Leadership Paradigm in the Classroom and Beyond, Benjamin Redekop and Isaac Schleifer. Cultivating Hope and Resolve in Perilous Times: Transforming Despair Into Adaptive Leadership, Marie Eaton. Something Else Is More Important Than Fear: Becoming‐In/appropriate Educational Leaders on the Verge in a Time of Mass Extinction and Climate Catastrophe, Susan F. Reed. PART II: LEADERSHIP FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION AND ECOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS. Solutionary Leadership: Creating a Culture in Which Ecologically Minded Teachers Thrive, Scott Morrison, Aaron Sebens, & John Heffernan. Small Changes With Deep Roots: Social Entrepreneurship and School Gardens, Courtney Baines. Transformative Spiritual School Leadership for Inclusive Education, Mousumi Mukherjee. PART III: ENDURING APOCALYPTIC WORK. Enduring Unsustainable Leadership: Enacting a Pedagogy of Hope Through Mindfulness, Artful Inspiration, and Compassionate Leadership, Jessica Gilway. Scheherazade and the Axe: Narrative Medicine, the Apocalypse, and the Way Through, Chris Osmond. Expanding the Radius of Concern and Cultivating Habits of Hope: A Meditation on Educational Leadership for Sustainable Ethics in the Anthropocene, Kelly Clark/Keefe and Vachel Miller. Conclusion: Apocalyptic Leadership in Formation, Vachel Miller. About the Contributors.