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DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET appreciated about the Reggio approach was the foundational value that children are competent learners. I also connected with the idea of establishing a classroom community where the children were part of creating classroom rules and norms, and where the curriculum fol- lowed the strengths and interests of the children. Today these ideas are well accepted as best practice in our field (Lewin-Benham 2011), but at that time, they were considered innovative. Some of the teachers at our center were interested in applying the Reggio learning principles to their teaching practice, so we did a lot of thinking together about how to implement the new ideas and approaches into our existing learning philosophy. Additionally, as a somewhat new director, I was in the pro- cess of immersing myself in leadership books and articles, both from the business world and the early childhood education field. I started to wonder whether the principles we were trying to use in the classroom might be applied to leadership and adult learning. Around the same time, I returned to school to work toward a grad- uate degree in social work. As I continued to learn more about how systems influence people (Bronfenbrenner 1992), strategies for com- munity engagement and organizing (Alinsky 1971; Freire 1970), and strengths-based practice, I continued to build a foundation of theoret- ical knowledge that would later support my ability to embrace the idea of collective leadership. In 2009 I was exposed to some ideas that could be considered life changing in a professional sense. I attended a systems thinking seminar based on the thoughts and ideas of Peter Senge and a course on coach- ing in education. This is also when I met Cassandra; she was the trainer for the coach training. Around the same time, I worked for a nonprofit agency that was leading a collaborative process to try to replicate a Promise Neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona. We used a collective impact approach and implemented ideas used by others across the United States who were using cross-sector collaboration to solve complex social issues. These foundations and frameworks deepened my sense of and curiosity about how these ideas might support leaders in the early childhood care and education field. Our field is addressing complex social change. Increasingly we are integral parts of cross-sector initiatives, and we are even creating our own systems that require a new level of collaboration, such as qual- ity rating and improvement systems. More often than not, we find ourselves working in collaboration with colleagues from other fields, engaging in processes that involve multiple partners, and designing 4 Introduction COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL