Anyone who knows me knows I am honest, open, and straight forward. I constantly speak of purpose, integrity, and character. I think there is no better way to conduct oneself. This also requires adopting a positive mindset and willingness to change.
Having just recently returned from the National Principal’s Conference in Philadelphia; I felt the need to reflect and share some of what resonated with me as a way of putting myself “out there”. My colleagues and community deserve to know about who I am as a leader. While a lot of what I heard was reaffirming, I also learned so much about digital leadership, the importance of relationships, and building culture that it took me a few days (I knew I needed some time to think because I completely botched what I was trying to say in a very public way…in the main ballroom…on the microphone…in front of a lot of people at the last session) to really focus on how this is connected to my core values as an educator and leader.
So here it is…simplified. I truly believe…
- Life is education. It never stops and is most powerful, relevant, and engaging when personal, enjoyable, and meaningful. This is what our schools need to become. Places where knowledge is connected to life so that true understanding can be developed and contribute to everyone’s growth. Why? The students deserve it and will benefit most through creativity, voice, and support.
- We need to show parents and the community that we are relevant beyond the idea of compulsory education. They are trusting us with their most precious possession. They want the best for their kids and so should we. I need to continually ask myself if I would be happy (not just ok) with my child attending our school.
- That when we create schools that work for kids, the tone of discourse about learning changes so opportunities to innovate, create, and pursue passions become the norm rather than the exception. We need to wonder who (kids or adults) is actually holding back changing for the future.
- We should not be educating students for an end result, but instead new situations. Jobs continue to disappear and get replaced with careers that did not exist 5 years ago. We need to educate students in a fashion that allows them to adapt and innovate. That only comes from creating understanding.
- I can always do more. I do not always have the answers, but will work hard to get better. I can do more to be a better leader and version of myself. Students deserve to have a great educational experience. If they are not excited about continuing to learn, we have fallen short. Parents also deserve to be part of that experience. The community deserves to know how their school is benefiting their present and future. Teachers deserve to be supported and given the tools to create the experience for students.
- Growth and success comes from mindset. Truth be told we live in a world of negativity. They only way to combat that is by shedding light on all the positive that is occurring. Growth is just that; shedding the negative and pulling the positive out to experience a whole new set of opportunities made visible though a greater understanding. Negativity is closed and finite. Positive is open and infinite. Which would you rather encounter? Which would you rather be?
What do you believe?
I would be remiss to not thank many of the individuals who helped further my learning this past week. If you are on twitter do yourself a favor and check them out.
Jimmy Casas: @casas_jimmy Dwight Carter: @Dwight_Carter
Derek McCoy: @mccoyderek Jeff Zoul: @Jeff_Zoul
Eric Sheninger: @E_Sheninger Shelley Burgess: @burgess_shelley
Beth Houf: @BethHouf Brian McCann: @casehighprinc