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Looking to 2020

Dear Friends,

Throughout the fall, I have been working with my colleagues at Leading with Spirit on new initiatives to support the important work of people in Waldorf schools, especially those that work in administration and on boards. At the same time, we have been laying the groundwork for our 2020 Summer Intensives. Once again we are offering the opportunity to spend a week with colleagues, to explore deeper questions of collaboration, school organization, and leadership, to share case studies, to move and play together, and to practice inner work is a true gift and can be deeply renewing, both personally and professionally.

One participant stated, “I have multiple degrees and have done lots of training over the years. This one week was the most transformative of them all.”

We continue to be grateful that we can share this work, inspired by the insights of Rudolf Steiner and shaped by many who have taken up the task of helping human beings progress on their path towards meeting the challenges of our times and realizing their highest potential.

The new summer courses focus on the art of organizational governance and renewal - the whole and its relation to the parts and the priciples and thier relation to the practices.

Here is a brief picture of the programs (Hawthorne Valley) (Whidbey Island), and lots more details can be found at www.leading with spirit.org.

If you are interested in this new work or would like to keep in touch with Leading with Spirit activities throughout the year, please contact Michael at mhsoule@gmail.com or 206-245-0100.

Many thanks to my colleagues at Leading with Spirit,

Lisa Mahar, Keene

Marti Stewart, Minneapolis

Mara White, Boston

Sian Owen-Cruise, Ann Arbor

Chris Schaefer, Great Barrington

Keep in touch,

Michael Soule



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NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE (click on issue number for link)

1.1 Collaboration

1.2 Sustainability

1.3 School as Living Entity

1.4 Making Consensus Work

1.5 The Art of Planning Meetings

1.6 Healthy Conversation, Communication and Agreements

1.7  Keys to Healthy Mentoring Programs 

2.1  The Art of Being a Mentor

2.2 Exploring Accountability

2.3 Renewing Governance

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Artwork for this website is contributed by Waldorf teacher and artist, Michael Pinchera. Click the image to see more of his work.

CURRENTS: New this week 1/6/20

Announcing Summer 2020 Intensives

Collaborative Governance, Engaging the World,

 and the Art of Administration in the

Evolving Waldorf School:

Principles, Practices, and Polarities

An invitation to join colleagues for a transformational summer retreat with Leading with Spirit

We recently participated in a weekend retreat with a group of experienced Waldorf School administrators. The purpose of the gathering was to explore what the collective experience of over 150 years of work in Waldorf schools could illuminate about the factors that have contributed to health in our schools and in our administrative work.

While there are many factors that contribute to health in an individual or an organization, one theme that arose in many of our discussions was the ability to enter into imaginative, inspiring and deep dialogue with others individually and within groups. This same theme has arisen in every situation that Leading with Spirit colleagues have worked in over the past year in the many individuals and schools we advise.

Rudolf Steiner offered an insight to us for our development - it is the work that we do on ourselves to create the capacity for listening and speaking at a deeper level and the use of those capacities in dialogue with others that is the path to the creative unfolding of our life, relationships, and institutions. Conscious compassionate dialogue is the creative force that can transform us and the world. It is the force behind the evolution of humanity and social transformation. It is the path to the realization of our own human potential and the potential of the groups we are a part of, be they small circles or greater ones, leading all the way out to the common dialogue of all of humanity about what it means to be human and live together on the earth.

There are many approaches to creating healthy and transformative dialogue now around us that can help in our work in Waldorf Schools – from practicing the inner dialogue of meditation, to studying together meaningful texts like the Study of Man or the Philosophy of Freedom, to exploring AWSNA’s core principles of Waldorf Education, to learning new approaches and technologies of conversation, including Generative Dialogue, biography work, Goethean conversation, Non Violent Communication, Appreciative Inquiry, Servant leadership or Presencing. All of these paths lead through what might be called “the forest of transformation.” It is an unfolding story of humanity at the crossroads.

Creative dialogue in all of its forms, whether it is with the self, with others one on one, within a group, with other beings in the natural world, with beings of the spiritual world or through our work and conscious life choices, is the key to our health, our growth and our survival on the planet.

Marjorie Spock’s work on Group Moral Artistry and Goethean Conversation, Heinz Zimmerman’s book on Speaking, Listening and Understanding, Chris Schaefer’s work in Partnerships of Hope, are just three shining examples of works that invite us forward and offer guidelines into the art of creative conscious dialogue. They invite us into this “forest of transformation” and shed light on the path to greater consciousness.

This path to health, growth and transformation through creative dialogue is at the heart of all of Rudolf Steiner’s work. It is the hallmark and calling of the modern age of the consciousness soul. It is the core of heart thinking. It is at the center of Steiner’s six basic exercises, the Motto of the Social Ethic, the Collegial Imagination, and the Foundation Stone Meditation. I believe that it is the foundation of what Rudolf Steiner meant when he offered that the larynx would be the creative organ of the future: that it is through dialogue we will, more and more in the future, create our relationships and new social forms of the world

This idea of dialogue is also at the center of the work that we do as colleagues in Leading with Spirit, in our Art of Administration Leadership training intensives, in our school advisory work and in our LeadTogether web resource collection.

If you would like to learn more, check out our website at www.LeadingwithSpirit.org or join colleagues this summer for one of our intensives this summer,

From the Whole to the Parts: Effective Administration in the Context of Collaborative Governance

Whidbey Island July 19-24 and Hawthorne Valley in Ghent NY July 12-17.


In these weeks we will dive down deep into the principles and practices of effective adminsitraiton in the context of collaborative governance - the relationship between visioning, planning, and management; the guiding principles that inform and provide alignment for committees, groups and teams in the school.  Together we will explore ideas, study our schools through casework, do biography work, practice inner development, build collegial relationships, practice the arts and spend time in nature.

We still have spaces open for both intensives and invite you to join us in a refreshing, renewing, revitalizing journey into the “forest of transformation.”

Your colleagues at Leading with Spirit

Lisa Mahar, Mara White, Chris Schaefer, Michael Soule, Marti Stewart, Sian Owen Cruise

IN FOCUS: Newsletter: Renewing Governance

Check out our other newsletters on Collaboration, Mentoring, Communications, (and 10 others) along with over 200 articles focusing on Leadership, Collaboration and Waldorf School Administration in our resources section.

  • Renewing GovernanceJuly 9, 2015 - 7:44 am

    Renewing Governance More and more organizations are seeking to find new governance structures and practices that support a balance between individual creativity and organizational harmony and effectiveness. This was the case 100 years ago when the first Waldorf School was founded. In the past 100 years, we have had the benefit of a great deal […]

  • Understanding Governance by Michael SouleJuly 9, 2015 - 6:48 am

    Understanding Governance by Michael Soule   Every organization struggles with the question of how to establish and maintain good governance. Even the definition of  governance can be a challenge. Just like the descriptors  “environmental” or “sustainable” can mean different things, so too can the term “governance”. Nevertheless, we as leaders must constantly strive to understand […]

  • Governance Models, An Essay by Nathan Garber with Reflections by Michael SouleJuly 9, 2015 - 5:07 am

    Reflections on Nathan Garber’s Article on Governance Models The article below by Nathan Garber is a good review and summary of the basic typical models of governance in organizations and the role that boards play in the different models. In Waldorf schools, there are many variations of governance models with most following a variation on […]

  • Self Administration and Governance in Waldorf Schools, Chris SchaeferJuly 9, 2015 - 4:09 am

    III   Self-Administration and Governance in Waldorf Schools   Seek the real practical life but seek it in a way that does not blind you to the spirit working in it. Seek the spirit but do not seek it out of spiritual egoism, from spiritual greed, but look for it because you want to apply […]

  • Personal Reflections on Waldorf School Governance and Effective Practices, Lynn KernJuly 9, 2015 - 3:33 am

        Personal Reflections on Governance: The Eleven Keys to Success Lynn Kern   The research into School Governance is one of the most widely anticipated topics in the long history of the Effective Practices research project. Schools have been struggling with the questions of how best to organize themselves and manage their affairs so […]