Brian Kulak

Tuesdays and Thursdays 5p-8p

Benaroya Hall

Good evening! Welcome to Nothing As It Seems, an educational leadership class designed to provide a practical dance partner to the theoretical. Here’s a brief outline of what to expect this semester. 

Course Description: This graduate level class is designed to address edu-leadership issues about which we rarely speak. From the taboo to the absurd, future leaders will experience edu-leadership through anecdotes and empathy.

Course Objectives: 

  1. To pull back the curtain on educational leadership theory
  2. To develop useful communication skills for use with crazy people
  3. To challenge candidates to accept the human side of leadership
  4. To engage in discussion about what once was considered taboo

January 4th-22nd

Unit 1: The 10% Corollary: Accepting That 10% of Any Organization is No Bueno

Guiding Text: Whispers in the Staff Lounge by Mark Lanegan

Focus: Whether it’s the 10th man on a 10 man basketball roster or a small group of staff who wake up each day with the intention to complain, the 10% corollary exists and isn’t going away. This unit will help us develop strategies to work with or, in some cases, ignore the 10% so we can focus on the other 90%.

January 25th-February 12th

Unit 2: Death and Dying On Campus

Guiding Text: We Have Some Sad News by Jeffrey Ament

Focus: From the sudden to the terminal, death and dying on campus are an inevitable part of your leadership career. In some cases, you’ll take on a paternal role for children who lost a parent. In other cases, you’ll serve as a grief counselor for a staff who can’t process the loss of a colleague. In still other cases, it will be your own loss that your staff and community must help you grieve. This unit will help us prepare for loss by first accepting that it’s going to happen. 

February 15th-March 5th

Unit 3: Lesson Plans and SGOs Are Stupid

Guiding Text: What Does the DOE Actually Do? by Tanya Donnelly

Focus: All educators have the spectre of a department of education looming over us. Nameless and faceless, the DOE quietly, and often confoundingly, makes bureaucratic decisions for us all the time. Sometimes the DOE graces us with its presence at conferences and delivers new and exciting buzzwords for us to begin using! This unit will help us understand how to work with, and sometimes outside the confines of, the department of education.

March 8th-26th

Unit 4: Middle Finger Emojis and Other Delightful Communication

Guiding Text: The text for this unit will just be a series of emails I received that may or may not invite me to copulate with myself, border on the criminally insane, or eschew any conventional spelling, grammar, or punctuation. 

Focus: The keyboard is a fierce weapon in a war that is often waged in the brain of its possessor. Voicemails left at bizarre hours allow for a responseless audience. Side eye and passive aggressive parking lot discussions keep everyone guessing as part of an interminable and often irreparable conflict. This unit will prepare us for the myriad ways in which communication styles, decisions, and exchanges dictate our leadership. 

March 29th-April 16th

Unit 5: In Loco Parentis, Like, For Reals

Guiding Text: Can You Talk to Her? by Chris Cornell 

Focus: While we are responsible for our students during school hours, there will be times when you’re asked to literally stand in as a parent. From the at-her-wits-end mom to the completely over-matched single dad, the better you are at your job the more likely a parent will ask you to do theirs for them. This unit will provide strategies for accepting and denying such responsibility. 


There will be no grades for this course because we’re all adults, grades are meaningless, and most graduate programs are “A” factories anyway. 

Good luck, future leaders!

Grab a copy of Level Up Leadership: Advance Your EduGame today!