6 The Visionary Director
communities. We believe the dreams and inventions you draw from
these ideas will surpass any specific formulas or directions we could
Using This Book
The chapters of this book focus on a conceptual framework and self-
directed activities to help you develop your own understanding and
possibilities for working with the framework. Chapter 1 offers our
vision of early childhood programs as the new neighborhoods of the
twenty-first century, poised to transform the cultural ills of our so-
ciety with genuine, mutually respectful, empowering relationships.
Included are lessons from African proverbs, organizational develop-
ment theory, and our own childhood memories of life in a neighbor-
hood or community. In chapter 2 we propose thinking of a director’s
work as a triangle, carefully balanced on all sides. Here you get a taste
of “systems thinking” as it pertains to developing the culture of early
Chapters 3, 4, and 5 offer more details about working from
each side of our triangle framework, with principles and strategies to
consider. For this edition we have added a new chapter 6, with four
composite stories of directors working to bring a particular vision to
life in their programs. Here you will find detailed examples of how
to translate your values into innovative practices for your center.
At the end of this book there is an afterword with snapshots of
promising initiatives around the country, appendixes that offer sam-
ple forms for some of the strategies we describe, and lists of references
and recommended resources.
What you will not find on these pages is help with budgeting,
fund-raising, or financial management. We know there are other
valuable resources to assist you in these areas, and we have included
some of these in the resources section.
The Visionary Director focuses on the strategies to light your fire
and the vision to help you clear the smoke. For the ideas in this book
to become part of your approach to directing, you will need practice
making them yours. each chapter of this book concludes with a prac-
tice activity for further reflection on the ideas just discussed. It might
be tempting to skip over this section, but we advise you to reconsider.
We encourage you to use this book for more than inspiration or refer-
ence. Make it a workbook that you return to on a regular basis. For
over a decade, administrators have sent us stories of how studying this