Educopia CO icon
September 29, 2022

Introducing Our Shared Leadership Model

The Educopia Institute is excited to announce effective October 1, 2022 Racquel Asante, Katherine Kim, and Jessica Meyerson will serve Educopia Institute as co-directors. 

Since publishing two blog posts on Educopia’s organizational transition in July (Embracing Change and Shaping Change), staff members Racquel Asante, Katherine Kim, and Jessica Meyerson submitted a proposal to the Board for a co-director executive leadership model that outlined key organizational benefits of co-director leadership models including organizational resilience, values alignment, and risk management. The proposal addressed the division of Executive Director/CEO responsibilities among co-directors, internal governance between co-directors and Board, communications and reporting structure, succession planning, decision making, assessment, and organizational possibilities that the model hopes to enable. 

The proposal came at a time when the Board was thinking deeply about its governance role and its collaborative relationship with the Educopia staff. Board president Kathleen Fitzpatrick notes that “during the course of our development work it became clear to us that the time was right to think differently about the nature of leadership for the organization, to move away from reliance on a single visionary executive director and toward a shared leadership model that could both better manifest Educopia’s values and make the organization more resilient.”

In conjunction with the development of the co-director proposal to the Board, members of the Board and Staff completed a series of interviews with representatives from organizations that are currently practicing a co-director model of executive leadership including RVC, ProInspire, Kindred Connections Society, and Change Elemental. We want to extend our sincerest appreciation to all of the organizations that took the time to respond to our email invitations. The purpose of these interviews was to develop a common frame of reference among Board and Staff for different models of shared leadership in practice – we wanted to better understand how each organization approached the following aspects of co-director leadership: conditions that have to be in place to move to shared leadership, navigating pitfalls, decision making, approaches to disagreement and conflict among co-directors, compliance and regulatory gotchas, and markers of success for shared leadership.

“Meeting with organizations who have developed a shared-leadership model was both energizing and eye opening,” said Nancy Adams, Program Assistant at Educopia. “While there are differences, what struck me most from the interviews were the similarities among the different organizations, especially the emphasis on relationship building (not just among leadership, but with all staff, the board, and other stakeholders) and on the willingness to work through things. These are already core values for Educopia.”  

The intention is to instantiate a co-director model as one step towards strengthening strategic thinking, thought leadership, and decision-making capacity across the entire team, to enable “…more expansive manifestations of shared leadership, ones in which power is cultivated and shared in ways that prefigure the future we envision.”[1,2] The co-directors see as one of our core responsibilities the task of providing the necessary resources and structural support for more of the staff to be recognized in leadership roles internally as well as externally—making Educopia more resilient overall.

As co-directors, Racquel, Katherine, and Jessica believe that the work of making Educopia’s co-director leadership model synonymous with efficacy and resilience is a matter of specificity, clarity, and transparency. We have made a public commitment to keep our constituents and stakeholders informed, to continue a practice of sharing lessons and processes publicly. Given the spectrum of shared leadership [3], and the variability of co-directorship models more specifically, the only way for people to understand is for us to tell them what our model is and what we are learning through implementation. As we reaffirm our commitment to “transition as the work”, we also reaffirm our commitment to centering relationships, shared accountability, and collaborative power. 

If you would like to get in contact with the shared leadership team, please email

[1] Aja Couchois Duncan, Mark Leach, Elissa Sloan Perry, and Natasha Winegar, “Butterflies, Pads, and Pods: Interdependent Leadership for the World We Want,” Change Elemental, October 2021, From Change Elemental: “Shifting to a co-directorship model cannot by itself advance more expansive manifestations of shared leadership, ones in which power is cultivated and shared in ways that prefigure the future we envision. Coming together as a focused team of staff and governance team representatives, we acknowledged that something different was needed, something that could further distribution of leadership, power, and responsibility, and something that could support Change Elemental in advancing its core strategies as well as increase our capacity to advance equitable systems change in the field more broadly.”

[2] Simon Mont, “The Future of Nonprofit Leadership,” Nonprofit Quarterly, March 2017, “When we expect a single leader (or small group of “leaders”) to create a system that will define and coordinate all individuals’ relationship to the organization by assigning roles and titles, we ignore the potential of every member to decide for themselves how to use the personal and interpersonal resources at their disposal to support the organization. We inhibit the dynamic, innovative, and agile responses that empowered people are capable of and choose static control and repetition instead.”

[3] Michael Allison, Susan Misra, and Elissa Perry, “Doing More with More: Putting Shared Leadership into Practice,” Nonprofit Quarterly, June 2018, shared-leadership-into-practice/

Community Culivation - A Field Guide on multi-colored background with Educopia Institute logo.

Community Cultivation, Revisited

I actually tried to stand in the way of Educopia's founding! I’m the first to admit it. A dozen years ago, I was the naysayer. I really didn’t think we could sustain a nonprofit organization centered on the science of ...
Read More

Library Publishing Curriculum: Pilot Experiences

The Library Publishing Curriculum has been created in 2018 as part of the "Developing a Curriculum to Advance Library-Based Publishing" project, generously funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In 2018-2019, we are piloting this open, freely available curriculum in ...
Read More

Digital Preservation Declaration of Shared Values: Call for Community Feedback

The digital preservation landscape is one of a multitude of choices that vary widely in terms of purpose, scale, cost, and complexity. Over the past year a group of collaborating organizations united in the commitment to digital preservation have come ...
Read More

Celebrating the origins and growth of

There are few things I've accomplished in my career that I'm as proud of as the work I did to help found Today, our roundtable interview about its origins and early growth has been published--it provides a window into ...
Read More

Promote Your Collections, Promote Our Collective Histories

We know that our choices as archivists, librarians, and curators matter. The historical record is largely shaped by what we gather, what we provide access to, and whose voices we preserve. In this moment, we want to ignite the power ...
Read More
OSSArcFlow: Modeling and Synchronizing OSS Workflows

Educopia and UNC-SILS receive IMLS funding to study OSS implementation to improve workflows for born-digital materials

The Educopia Institute and the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) have been awarded a grant worth over $681,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for OSSArcFlow, a project to investigate and support the adoption ...
Read More
ETDplus: Supporting the Evolution of Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD)

Educopia’s ETDplus Toolkit is now live!

The IMLS-funded ETDplus Toolkit is an approach to improving student and faculty research output management. Focusing on the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) as a mile-marker in a student’s research trajectory, it provides in-time advice to students and faculty about avoiding common ...
Read More

MetaArchive Cooperative Receives 2017 George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg Award

The MetaArchive Cooperative was bestowed the 2017 George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg Award for its commendable work in the digital preservation field. This award pays tribute to individuals or groups that “foster collaboration for preservation” by demonstrating leadership, vision and initiative ...
Read More
Self-Identified Library, Archives, and Museum Professional Development Needs, 2016 Edition. Compendium of 2015-2016 Mapping the Landscapes Project Findings and Data.

Educopia Study Finds Library, Archives, and Museum Employees Asking for Professional Development

ATLANTA - January 18, 2017 – Today, Educopia released its Self-Identified Library, Archives, and Museum Professional Development Needs 2016 Edition report revealing a strong shared desire for continuing education and professional development across these cultural fields. Sixty-nine percent of library, archives and ...
Read More

Presentation by Educopia’s Sam Meister at IFLA 2016 mentioned in ALA Article

Disaster preparedness is often discussed in human terms: how to prevent loss of life or home during or in the aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster. But what about our library collections? How can we keep them safe in ...
Read More

Public libraries share their digitization success stories

From ALA member news CHICAGO— Digitizing your collection is not only a great way to increase access to your materials, it also engages patrons on a whole new level and helps communicate your library’s value. But with staff time and ...
Read More
LAM Education Needs Assessments: Bridging the Gaps

Publication Announcement: LAM Education Needs Assessments: Bridging the Gaps

Authored by Christina Drummond, Tom Clareson, Laurie Gemmill Arp, and Katherine Skinner, LAM Education Needs Assessments: Bridging the Gaps aims to introduce guiding principles and practices for CE/PD needs assessments from beyond the Library, Archives, and Museum (LAM) spheres of reference ...
Read More

Resource Released – Getting to the Bottom Line: 20 Cost Questions for Digital Preservation

The MetaArchive Cooperative is pleased to make available a new cost resource to assist institutions with their comparative analyses of various digital preservation solutions, both community-based solutions (e.g., MetaArchive) as well as vendor-based solutions. Getting to the Bottom Line: 20 Cost ...
Read More

BitCurator Users Forum 2015

Event Description Join BitCurator users from around the globe for a hands-on day focused on current use and future development of the BitCurator digital software environment. Hosted by the BitCurator Consortium (BCC), this event will be grounded in the practical, ...
Read More

BitCurator Consortium Launches

The Educopia Institute is pleased to announce the launch of the BitCurator Consortium (BCC), a new independent, community-led membership association to support the curation of born- digital materials by libraries, archives, and museums. Members of the BitCurator user community have ...
Read More
ETDplus: Supporting the Evolution of Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD)

Two-Year IMLS Grant Awarded to Study Management of Supplemental Data for ETDs

The Educopia Institute is pleased to announce it has been awarded a two-year National Leadership Grant by the IMLS to study the preservation of supplemental data for ETDs. Joining Educopia on the ETDplus project are a variety of partners from ...
Read More

Three year IMLS Grant Awarded to Strengthen Leadership Education in Archives, Libraries, and Museums

Educopia is pleased to announce it has been awarded a three-year Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to establish a Nexus Leadership Lab to enhance leadership education available to cultural ...
Read More
Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation

2013 Society of American Archivists Award for Educopia Publication

Press release from Society of American Archivists June 27, 2013: Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation, edited by Dr. Nancy Y. McGovern (the volume editor) and Dr. Katherine Skinner (the series editor), is the recipient of the Preservation Publication Award ...
Read More
Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation

Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation Action Assembly

The Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation (ANADP) II Action Assembly will align digital preservation efforts internationally between communities, including national libraries, academic libraries, public libraries, research centers, archives, corporations, and funding agencies. ANADP II will be a highly participatory ...
Read More

Digital Preservation and Outreach Education (DPOE) Workshop

The Educopia Institute was pleased to be able to offer this free Library of Congress-developed workshop on digital preservation to Michigan-based cultural heritage institutions or academic research centers. Hosted by the Loutit District Library (, this workshop followed the curriculum ...
Read More