Learning Omnivores


About us placeholder image

We are an amorphous group of educators who have joined together—a tribe really— to learn from a diverse group of gifted, interesting and sometimes provocative learned people in the world. We’ve learned from the likes of poet David Whyte, provocative educators David Berliner, Gene Glass, and Yong Zhao, linguist George Layoff, researchers and professors Carol Dweck, Andy Hargreaves, Art Costa and Bena Kallick, Jon Saphier, and Tony Wagner.

We are about learning—exploring ideas to understand more deeply the institutions of education. We are also intrigued by the processes individuals experience while learning.

We’ll feature a blog about current issues around learning. We’ll offer reviews of books we’re reading. And we’ll focus on “New Rules”, changes in attitude and behavior we educators must exhibit to survive in our world of surprising changes.

You Need a Slap in the Face

By Bill Sommers A couple of months ago, our Learning Omnivores group, spent time with Stan Slap, the author of Bury My Heart at Conference Room B.  After reading this book and his second book, Under the Hood, we felt there were messages for educators in Stan’s work.  And, we were correct. Stan graciously took […]

Continue Reading >

Metamorphosis Teaching Learning Communities

Metamorphosis Teaching Learning Communities Can We Talk? Lucy West & Yitzchak Francus Changing the day-to-day culture of schools from one in which adults work solo in silos has been a focus of the many leaders and researchers who understand that professional learning is the key to student learning, and that professional learning requires collaboration. Yet, […]

Continue Reading >

ReImagining Learning: It Won’t be Easy!

ReImagining Learning: It Won’t be Easy!  “Perhaps for the first time in history, human-kind has the capacity to create far more information than anyone can absorb; to foster far greater interdependency than anyone can manage, and to accelerate change far faster than anyone’s ability to keep pace. ”   ~ Peter Senge   I read […]

Continue Reading >

Gray Matters

By Bill Sommers Skip Olsen   In the song by the Mama and Papas, there is line, “All the leaves are brown…”  In working, leading, teaching, etc it seems like all the decisions are gray.  It is easy to live in a world or work in an organization and in living life where things are […]

Continue Reading >

Emotional Anoxeria

Emotional Anorexia By William Sommers “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast” Peter Drucker   I ask you a question, “What are we waiting for?”  Working in schools for over 40 years I keep hearing professionals (teachers and administrators) whining about not feeling appreciated.  Yes, in many schools I have been a principal, we have developed a […]

Continue Reading >

Supervising Principals by Saphier & Durkin

Supervising Principals: How Central Office Administrators Can Improve Teaching and Learning in the Classroom — The Missing Link for Scaling Up School Improvement Jon Saphier & Pia Durkin Many change agents agree that putting a good principal in every school is the key to improving classroom instruction. Findings by the Wallace Foundation and by McREL […]

Continue Reading >

Testing Destiny

As Pete Seeger sang years ago, “when will we ever learn?”  Yes, that dates me and gives me over 40 years of perspective in education.  So, my question is, knowing the results of the testing every child, when will we learn that this is not working?  We all know Einstein’s quote about continuing to do […]

Continue Reading >

Comfort Stories: Stealing our Collective Intelligence

When I got home, as is my wont, I eagerly reached for the newspapers that had piled up on the steps. I wanted to find out what happened the past 3 days while I was away at a conference. Staring me in the face was the headline pictured here. My questions are: So what? Are […]

Continue Reading >


 “The more things change the more they stay the same” — Bon Jovi Been thinkin’ a lot lately about education and schools and learning. That’s what happens when Bill calls, asking if I have a couple of minutes. He’s discovered some of the great quotes in whatever books he’s reading. And he wants to share […]

Continue Reading >

The five myths of NYC education reform

The five myths of NYC education reform by Winifred Radigan While education reform has been on the front burner of political platforms and public opinion pages, sadly, true reform continues to give way to quick fixes and bureaucratic structural changes that fail to have a positive and lasting impact on teaching and learning.   The problem […]

Continue Reading >


GRRReat We all want great learning, great schools, and great success in the future. For the past several years the narrow focus has been on test scores. Schools compete with other schools, states and provinces compete with other states and provinces, and PISA scores seem to be the only assessment measure that is taken seriously. […]

Continue Reading >

Failure IS an Option

We have been around a long time, both over 40 years in education, and worked in many parts of the country. One of us, mostly as a building principal, and the other as former teacher, counselor, and union business agent. We have heard lots of rhetoric about what needs to happen and have seen many […]

Continue Reading >

No More Emotional Anorexia

Great teachers are emotionally intelligent and connect with their students and colleagues, they have the understanding that positive relationships are the bedrock of successful schools. This can be emotionally draining and if we do not replenish regularly then it can lead to what I call emotional anorexia. The emotionally anorexic lose the capacity to maintain […]

Continue Reading >

View All Books

What's Next on the Bookshelf?