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Rashid Faisal

Rashid Faisal


Design Thinking

485 W. Milwaukee
Detroit, Michigan 48202
Rashid Faisal, principal of Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies in Detroit, is excited to be an educator in this day and age as we shift from an industrial society to a knowledge-based society. He says that it’s time for schools, like the public middle and high school academy he leads, to abandon archaic practices and embrace new practices that evolve and change with our ever-changing world.
Michigan Nightlight: What does being a leader mean to you?
Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies Principal Rashid Faisal: Leadership is all about vision, mission, purpose, and action -- plain and simple. Vision is about serving the needs of individuals and society at a time when a difference is needed; in essence it is the blueprint for planning and the power of an unrealized picture, and it drives the mission. Purpose is the consuming love or faith in the vision and mission which enables the leader to help others overcome skepticism, doubt and/or fear and embrace the preferred future with a spirit of hope, mindfulness, empowerment, and a willingness to take risk. Under this frame of thinking, leadership is more about people and less about paperwork; but the failure to address organization and structure can lead to having less time for informing, influencing, coaching, and motivating people. Because change is so rapid, working with people to help them embrace and manage change is critical.
What is your dream for kids?
My dream for children is for them to become whole healthy adults with a healthy regard for self, a love and appreciation for others, a desire to serve and lead humanity in ways that make the world more humane, creative, innovative, and transformative. My dream, also, is for children to achieve high levels of literacy in preparation for active participation in a
It is truly an amazing time to be an educator because this rapid shift is forcing schools to abandon archaic practices and embrace new practices that are constantly evolving and changing because the society in which we live is under constant change.
global society. 
What is one concrete thing that could be done to improve the environment for social sector work in Michigan?
Preparing citizens to understand their current reality in light of their preferred future. The conventional way of seeing society must be balanced with perspectives from non-traditional sources, such as the art and design community. Too often problems and solutions are framed from one sector of the society, typically business, politics, and an educational system organized from the industrial model. My view is that the knowledge economy will require a fundamental shift in how we define what is actually a learning environment. In the traditional sense, the learning environment was school or the training one received upon taking a job. This way of viewing learning is outdated and incompatible with today’s reality.
For example, children are learning more from social media and networks than from traditional public schools. One of the concrete ways we can improve the environment for social sector work in Michigan is to expand the definition of the learning environment to include community organizations and non-traditional ways of “knowing” such as social media, hands-on-training, apprenticeships, etc. As stated by Einstein, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
How do you know you’re making progress?
The fact that we are focusing on the problem is more important than finding the solution because solutions, like problems, evolve and change. Nevertheless, progress is being made because leaders from all sectors -- grassroots to corporations -- are engaged in problem framing and, most significantly, they are on the same page in terms of agreeing that changes in the way we see and understand the world is needed.  As such, the conversation around change is less polemical in terms of the changes needed.
All can agree that changes from an industrial society to one in which knowledge and information is king requires new ways of thinking and acting—all of which means changes in the nature of schooling, how we see learning environments, and the way in which work is organized and task accomplished. It is truly an amazing time to be an educator because this rapid shift is forcing schools to abandon archaic practices and embrace new practices that are constantly evolving and changing because the society in which we live is under constant change.
What are you most proud of?
The progress students are making in the areas of college- and career-readiness, creativity, and innovation. Students are becoming more academically focused and celebratory of their academic achievement. The are demonstrating a new and more future-oriented context for schooling by demonstrating that intellectual work and art, creativity, and simply curiosity can
My reasoning is the future will not be led by smart people in the traditional sense of I.Q. and test scores.
take place in the same learning context. I am also proud of the progress students are making in the skill areas of initiative and entrepreneurialism. They take the initiative to solve problems and are constantly seeking out new opportunities, ideas, and strategies for improvement or for solving problems. In other words, they are comfortable with change; in fact, they embrace in ways that would likely terrify past generations.
In speaking with younger people who are interested in careers in arts education, what advice would you give?
Think of art in the context of creativity and innovation. The world is an artistic creation. In other words, art is the essence of life and it is found in every sector of life from mathematics and science to literature and the social sciences; from computer technology to health and physical culture, art is everywhere. To be effective now and in the future, leaders must have skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurism.
My recommendation for a young person pursuing a career in art would be to develop both right- and left-brain skills. This is the same advice I would give to a student pursuing a career in a sector that is considered less art-focused. My reasoning is the future will not be led by smart people in the traditional sense of I.Q. and test scores. The future will be led by bright and inquisitive people who can ask the right questions, who think outside of the box, who are able to re-imagine, re-frame, and re-think not only existing problems but problems yet to come into fruition -- for example, forward-thinking problem imagining. So my advice to the future student of art education would be to link his or her artistic or creative talents not only to things that offer aesthetic pleasure, but also to everyday problems and issues in need of innovative and creative solutions. 
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Program Profile


  • Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies
    Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies is an exemplary Detroit middle and high school that prepares students for college and career success through real world experiences that have an explicit focus on innovation, creativity, art and design. ...


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