Meet Phil Schlechty
Phil Schlechty comes out of a background as fundamental as an Ohio farm and as lofty as The Ohio State University. He is an exceptional speaker, thinker, writer, and leader. He has deep, abiding passions for equity, excellence, the public schools, and American democracy—reading any of his books makes this clear.
Phil is a synthesizer and connector. He has often said that he "stands on the shoulders of giants," to whom he owes a great debt—thinkers and writers in the fields of history, sociology, education, and business, primarily. His unique talent lies in the ability to draw upon such diverse sources of inspiration and to develop coherence among them around issues of kids, schools, communities, and leadership.
Phil is a skillful, entrepreneurial leader. At the Schlechty Center he has assembled an energetic group of talented professionals, challenged them to develop their unique talents in building the organization and serving its customers, and then supported them aggressively in their work.
Phil is a storyteller, and his stories (often quite funny) are usually metaphorical, linked to some important point about why, and how, schools might be transformed. He bridges disciplines, cultures, and points of view—comfortably and with keen insight. He teaches us all how to do that. He leads by example, and by asking "what if…?" questions.
A state legislator once said to him, "Son, you have a way of being able to get the hay down to the ponies." That's Phil. You'd like to get to know him.
Phil is up and writing every morning around 4:30, same time as when he got up to milk the cows before school—that's when and how he thinks best.
He wouldn't have written this, however—too self-congratulatory. It was written by appreciative staff.
Phil's Life Question
This video is a very short clip where Phil describes the question that guides his life's work.
There is a 0% chance that children will learn from work they do not do.
What we need are schools organized in ways that put the joy back into teaching and that do not confuse rigor with rigor mortis.
Given wisdom, leaders stop trying to control everything and stop taking charge of everyone and see themselves as one part of a complex operation.