Dr. Byron Ernest
Children are often told to reach for the stars. Equipping them for such a challenge is a mission entrusted to the honorable teachers and professors of the world—but who supports them? Who encourages and empowers educators to stretch to new heights and lead generations to that twinkling promise of tomorrow?
Dr. Byron Ernest, founder and chief positivity officer of Leadery Global, has dedicated his life to education. It is a passion that has driven him for 37 years as a teacher, a principal, a superintendent, and an industry leader whose devotion has been recognized as the 2010 Indiana Teacher of the Year, and the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation National Outstanding Agriscience Teacher. Additionally, Byron was awarded the Lilly Endowment Distinguished Fellow Teacher Creativity Grant, the Smithsonian Teacher Ambassador Diffusion Award, and Inspire Education’s Mentor of Excellence Award, among others. Now, he’s set his sights on being the source of growth development for educators everywhere as a veritable “map to the stars.”
Founded in 2021, Leadery Global provides customized leadership development programs to academic organizations and individuals in a unique and engaging way that diverges and distinguishes itself from the outdated and uninspiring “teacher’s seminar.” Throughout all 50 states and globally, Dr. Ernest presents solutions to embolden members of academia and educational institutions, while more corporations are reaching out to him for help in improving their organizations and leadership as well.
We spoke with Dr. Ernest to learn more about his segue from teacher to trainer, and why his unorthodox “syllabus” is attracting clients in droves.
Dr. Ernest, what compelled you to start Leadery Global?
In short, I wasn’t seeing people who were motivating and giving people practical tools for growth. Much of my career was in teaching, so I sat through many so-called “professional development sessions,” and the speakers were always static and dull—most weren’t former teachers, so they lacked perspective. Teachers love their jobs, and they constantly want to improve their skills or discover new ways to reach their students, but too many people get into this field of professional development for the wrong reasons. I do this because I’m passionate about it, I’m good at it, and I want to help others.
How is your approach different from other companies, and how can educators and schools benefit from your services?
Nothing I do is cookie-cutter. This is one of my core values. Educators and schools have different needs and skills they want to focus on. Before I do anything, I find out exactly what they are so that I’m giving them precisely what they need—not a smattering of what they need buried in a session that covers a mountain of other things they don’t. I define what I do as “gatherings,” as opposed to meetings, classes, or training sessions. We’re going to have fun, talk, and laugh. It’s an organic conversation with heuristic learning.
What do you enjoy most about your work? Is there a particularly motivating factor?
I get to work with very diverse groups of people with very different needs. I’m at a point in my life where I want to help others be the best that they can be. I love knowing I’ve made a difference. For example, I became the principal for Emmerich Manual High School in Indianapolis after it was taken over by the State for receiving seven consecutive failing annual performance grades. I developed a new staff and culture of excellence that focused on student achievement and performance. As a result, the State removed us from its “F List.” I’m proud to have had a part in that achievement.
Tell us a little about your book, The Hand In The Back Of The Room: Connecting School Work To Real Life.
Like the name states, it encourages educators to infuse their classrooms with everyday, relatable experiences in order to engage all students—especially those who are not actively immersed or enthusiastic.
You have such a wide breadth of knowledge, both from experience and education. Tell us about some previous roles and your academic attainments.
Prior to founding Leadery Global, and apart from being a teacher, principal, and superintendent, I wrote and developed teacher leadership programs, coached teachers, and mentored and coached principals. I am a policy maker and citizen leader on the Indiana State Board of Education; chaired the Graduation Pathways panel, created to study and make recommendations to the Indiana State Board of Education; and former chair on the board of directors for the National Association of State Boards of Education. I received my B.S. in animal science and agricultural education and my master’s in education from Purdue University. I then earned a doctorate in administrator leadership for teaching and learning from Walden University and completed the Advanced Educational Leadership Program at Harvard University.
Dr. Byron Ernest
Founder/Chief Positivity Officer
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