Our Client’s Feedback

“We’ve worked with Mike Rutherford and Rutherford Learning Group for more than 15 years.  Mike is an extraordinarily gifted teacher—and he continually focuses on the skills and knowledge that make a true, lasting difference for students.  Over the years, he’s worked with our teachers, our aspiring principals, our experienced principals, and, most recently, with the senior leadership team of our central office.   Once, after we had included Mike as part of a two- day leadership retreat with our principals, we asked for feedback on the entire retreat and how we might improve it.  One principal put it succinctly… “More Mike!” 

Dan Challener, President, Public Education Foundation, Chattanooga, TN


“The Artisan Teacher and Feedback & Coaching Lab have provided Nixa with an amazing opportunity to collaborate as an administrative team and solidify the importance of providing our teachers with meaningful, specific and frequent feedback based on teacher strengths.  Teachers LOVED receiving the feedback and in turn we have seen teacher and administrative growth alike.  Mike modeled for administrators how to value teachers through feedback while all the time valuing the strengths of our administrative team.  Mike’s ability to build relationships with those he is training makes all the difference!  ‘One of our administrators wrote… “…We learned a ton just by watching Mike interact with teachers and administrators.  LOVED IT!  Thank you for bringing this PD to us! We have valued every minute of it!’ We value Mike’s expertise and feel blessed to have had the opportunity to learn from him!”

Kathy Whitworth, Executive Director of HR, Nixa Public Schools, Nixa, MO


“To be able to improve instruction system-wide you must first be able to define what excellent teaching looks like and have a rich language in place to talk about it.  The language of the 23 Artisan themes and the feedback strategies from Skillful Observation & Coaching Laboratory serves to enrich conversations among teachers, administrators, and central office leaders in our district.”  

Dr. Tim Markley, Superintendent, New Hanover County Schools, Wilmington, NC


“I have had the distinct pleasure of helping bring Skillful Observation & Coaching Lab to two different states (Missouri and Arkansas) as well as numerous school districts. After each session, participants have had the same reaction: that this is the most powerful and productive professional development that they—as instructional leaders—have been a part of. And the tools are so practical that participants can go back and begin implementing them right away! I wholeheartedly encourage every district that prioritizes improving instruction to bring this opportunity to their instructional leaders. It’s a game changer!”

 Tyler Barnett, Director, Charter Development, Arkansas Public School Resource Center


“Mike Rutherford connects.  He is highly skilled, entertaining, passionate and inspiring.  His sessions with SAM school and district leader teams makes a difference in their work to improve teaching and learning.  Mike models what he teaches in an authentic and meaningful way that makes leaders better.”

 Mark Shellinger, Director, National SAM Innovation Project


“We have been blessed at Asbury University to integrate Dr. Mike Rutherford’s educational leadership resources into our principal licensure/EDS degree program. Our graduate students love Mike’s work, and in developing effective school leaders who grasp the art and science of growing healthy school communities, Mike’s tools are a perfect fit for us. His 360 leadership model, 23 artisan teacher talents, and other mentoring/coaching resources align well with our immersion of our candidates in servant leadership and school improvement.”

 Dr. Rocky Wallace, Coordinator, Principal Licensure Program, Assistant Professor, Graduate Education, Asbury University, Wilmore, KY


“Many coaches refer to their work as being “informed” by adult learning research. Mike Rutherford is not just “informed” by research, he puts into practice nearly every research finding about how to help adults transform their perspective and their behavior. Mike combines expertise in teaching quality – which is relevant to anyone working in schools – with placing leaders in authentic settings to try out new skills with immediate feedback. That is the stuff that builds great leaders! As veterans in leadership development, our entire team learned new strategies from Mike to help challenge and grow leaders while affirming their strengths. We can’t wait until our next opportunity to learn with and from Mike!”

 Leslie Hazle Bussey, Ph.D., Chief of Staff, GLISI, Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement


“The state of Missouri has been focused on building the capacity of principals. In particular, considerable training and support has been provided in the area of observing teacher performance and providing actionable, meaningful feedback. Mike Rutherford has worked for several years with our state to coordinate this training and support. Mike’s expertise and skills has resulted in impressive improvement in the practice of Missouri principals. We appreciate our partnership with him and the Rutherford Learning Group.”

Paul Katnik, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Educator Quality, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 


“The Skillful Observation and Coaching Laboratory (SOCL) that you have been able to offer our building and district leaders over the past few years have been invaluable! Your sense of humor, positive demeanor, and practical approach to facilitating the sessions using the Seven Tools for Developing Teachers and Teaching have supported leaders with their instructional focus. Because the emphasis is on what we can do as leaders to positively impact student learning, you always remind us of how we can create cultures in our schools that promote and sustain the instructional growth of teachers. Thank you for modeling learning in a risk-free environment that encourages our individual growth and that of the teachers we serve.”

Dr. José G. Boza, Jr., Director, Leadership Development DeKalb County Schools, GA


“The Educational Leadership Consortium of Nova Scotia Inc. (NSELC) has had the honor and privilege to work with Dr. Mike Rutherford for the past eight years in various capacities. Mike has been instrumental in training our Coaching Leaders in our Instructional Leadership Academy. He has presented to our cohorts of school administrators at two day institutes the past five summers and we look forward to having him return again this summer (2016).  His recent book The Artisan Teacher: A Field Guild to Skillful Teaching is a text that has become a “must read” by all of our Academy administrators. Participants in Mike’s leadership programs find his sessions the most valuable PD sessions they have ever had due to the applicable strategies based on sound research and evidence.”

Terry Wadden, Executive Director, Educational Leadership Consortium of Nova Scotia


“Mike Rutherford’s Artisan Teacher has taken our district to the next level in providing effective, relative, and immediate feedback.  His groundbreaking approach to guiding administrators in the delivery of constructive feedback is refreshing.  Artisan Teacher has become a daily reference for educators in our district.  I would strongly recommend participation in the coaching lab sessions that further expand on the concepts presented in the book.  Mike’s ability to engage and inspire his audience has led to a positive shift in the culture of our district.”

Judy Dotson, Instructional Supervisor, Carter County School System, KY


“Artisan Teacher and Skillful Observation and Coaching Lab have been integral parts of our leadership development because our leaders are becoming better observers of teacher talent. Using the Artisan Themes has enabled our leaders to build a culture of feedback and coaching that goes beyond evaluation. The focus on talent development and coaching helps us to accelerate teacher development, thereby increasing the learning opportunities for students.”

Kendra Washington-Bass, Ph.D, Director- Leadership Development, Gwinnett County Public Schools, GA


“Mike Rutherford is an outstanding teacher and presenter! His workshops are full of practical examples that every principal or teacher can relate to and understand. Our Association has partnered with Mike to offer a series on instructional coaching and feedback for principals. The best part of working with Mike is his in-depth knowledge of good instruction. He weaves the craft of good teaching throughout his presentations focused on providing quality feedback for teachers. While leaders are learning excellent strategies on giving feedback, he is building capacity on effective teaching. Mike has my highest recommendation!”

Michael L. Schooley, Ed. D., Executive Director, Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals


“I have only the highest of praise for the work of the Rutherford Learning Group.  Mike came to Saint Louis University and did a day workshop with future School Administrative graduate students to help them understand how to provide feedback to teachers as well as helping teachers grow and become better at their job.  It was not only pleasurable, it was informative and provided excellent growth for these students.  I can only provide the highest of recommendation for using the Rutherford Learning Group to assist with quality professional development for both administrators and educators.”

Dr. Jody Wood, Associate Professor, Coordinator of the Gateway Learning Institute, Saint Louis University


“Kansas City Public Schools had the pleasure to work with Mike and the Rutherford Learning Group for two years.  Our focus was training principals to give effective, growth provoking feedback.  In the end, Mike not only worked with our principals, but with our teacher leaders bringing our district consistency with a common language when fostering growth.   The laboratory model that Mike utilizes is hands-on learning in a real classroom setting.  KCPS principals and teachers felt this was by far some of the best training they had received!”

Monica Landess, Pioneer Grant Director, Kansas City Public Schools, MO


“Mike Rutherford’s presentations are always delivered in a professional manner and are of the highest quality.   Our participants consistently enjoy having the opportunity to hear first-hand from the author of a well-known best practices publication.  His vast array of educational experiences lends credibility to his sessions.   We value him as a partner and look forward to building on our relationship with him and the Rutherford Learning Group.”

Dr. Shirley Prince, Executive Director, North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principals’ Program


“Mike Rutherford is a dynamic presenter who engages his audience.  I have worked with Mike for many years and find that his leadership topics are current and relevant.  Our organization always looks forward to having him present as part of our leadership development series.”

Elizabeth (Beth) A. Phibbs, Executive Director, SC Association of School Administrators