Growing up as the son of Holocaust survivors has instilled in me a deep respect for others’ beliefs, experiences, hopes, and dreams. We currently have the privilege of co-creating the next generations’ educational future, which I strongly believe needs to embrace multiple and even conflicting viewpoints and values. I strive to do so in my research, teaching, and mentoring of M.A and Ph.D students.
My empirical studies (e.g., investigating professional learning communities, reform implementation) do not merely focus on a specific educational context but rather attempt to explore issues in various contexts, such as elementary as well as secondary schools, principal preparatory programs as well as teacher education programs, and diverse systems such as special education and ethnic minorities. Taking a holistic-ecological approach to research agendas enables multiple perspectives to be heard and learned from.
The graduate level courses I teach engage a diverse population of current and prospective educational leaders. Jews, Muslims, and Christians of varying degrees of religiosity from diverse formal and informal educational institutions learn collaboratively in the midst of cultural, political, and religious turmoil. Teaching diverse graduate students to link theory, research evidence, and practice in turbulent urban areas, while maintaining respectful and constructive peer dialogue through collective learning, epitomizes for me the complexity and importance of education.
Long-term advising-mentoring of M.A and Ph.D students from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds in their research agendas has been a particularly enriching process. When advising diverse students and bringing them together in collaborative study groups, we open our minds but at the same time we touch our hearts and shape our shared future. This can be done by creating a community of learners that fosters opportunities for students to develop new relationships that honor and celebrate multiple perspectives and diverse life experiences.