The ecotone is a place of tension where infiltration and survival are tested in unique ways. In terms of school leadership, the ecotone is where we see leadership as a necessary and essential adaptation. Voices Leading from the Ecotone is a volume of narratives by practicing urban school leaders who share adaptive school experiences in high-needs schools where social justice issues are prevalent, and are a daily reality of communities. These can range from issues of poverty, gangs, violence, racial tensions, disabilities, and LGBTQ. Each narrative highlights a leader’s struggles, challenges, and identify the “a-ha” moments that have helped the school move forward.
These school leaders have adapted in ways they once thought impossible. To adapt is to be creative and innovative. Where they are now, both professionally and organizationally is not a place where leading is necessary. They are already ‘there.’ They see leadership as necessary for where they want to be, as it is not yet real. Leadership, the act of leading, is needed to traverse the place between where they are and where they want to be. That place is the ecotone. They care deeply about school leadership, appreciate its strengths and imperfections, and are committed to diversity, equity, teaching and learning, and making leadership better.