At DFI, we believe that a great community is one where you are inspired by your peers and deeply engaged in the work. Six core values guide us:
We are a community of diverse professionals who strive to create an environment in which everyone is intrinsically motivated to do outstanding work and continuously seeks out feedback to improve their performance. We believe honesty and humility are key to fostering professional growth, and we aim to model the type of continuous learning and improvement that we hope to see flourish throughout our educational system.
Be good stewards
Good stewards tend to that which they care about. At DFI, we care deeply about our culture and organizational health, and we expect everyone to positively nurture its growth and evolution. A big part of our culture is honoring the full humanity of our colleagues and partners, and recognizing that work is just one facet of life. We assume best intentions, and seek to understand how our own actions and assumptions affect others.
Practice good pedagogy
We have a reverent respect for the art – and science – of good pedagogy for children and adult learners alike. Good pedagogy includes using knowledge of content and how the human mind works to create rigorous learning experiences; fostering learners’ sense of belonging, agency, and purpose; building meaningful relationships; and gathering evidence and holding ourselves accountable for outcomes. We believe that skilled educators nurture the limitless potential, brilliance, and humanity of each learner.
Always seek solutions
The work we do is complex–but we see that complexity as an opportunity rather than as an obstacle. When confronted with challenges big and small, we aim to stay nimble, developing multiple solutions, testing them, and then iterating based on what we’ve learned. We hold our values tightly, but not our products or processes. We are doubtful that the same solution will work everywhere–context matters.
Design for inclusivity
Fighting racist ideas and policies, including those that have been embedded in the U.S. education system, requires bringing together diverse actors to work together in collective and inclusive fashion. This won’t just happen by accident – it requires intentionality. At Deans for Impact, we take deliberate steps to foster inclusivity in everything we do, from hiring to program design to identifying leaders to collaborate with. While we value this across a number of dimensions, we are particularly attentive to the history of white supremacy in the U.S. and its ongoing impact on particular races and ethnicities, including Black Americans, Native Americans, and immigrants. Living this value is a work in progress for us – we are striving to get better.
Transform the system
Where others see an immovable system of educator preparation, we see the potential to shift mindsets and everyday practices, beginning with our own. We believe that educators counter or perpetuate pervasive historical inequities through their instructional decisions. So we aim to transform the system in which they learn to make those choices, partnering with others at all levels of the system who share our commitment to every child. This is a generational effort – to work here and to partner with us requires taking the long view.