About Me

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I've been an educator since 1995 where I've served as both a teacher and administrator. I believe that serving others is the key to success and make it my goal to be a servant leader for students, teachers, parents, and the community. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Teachers as entrepreneurs

I've often said that teachers are like entrepreneurs. Their classroom is their business and on any given day they must sell, innovate, create, inspire, and improve their skills in order to succeed in their primary function, namely teaching knowledge and skills for today while developing life-long learners and problem solvers for tomorrow. They must individualize their product (instruction) to fit the needs of each child which means knowing their children well enough to recognize those individual needs. All the while, they are required to manage behaviors that range from angelic to outrageous. Failure in an area can bring less than stellar results. As an administrator, I must value this entrepreneurial spirit while recognizing that the rugged individualism that goes with it is no longer sufficient. Therefore, one of my roles is to foster collaboration. Fortunately, most teachers have already discovered this necessity and are willing to work with each other for the overall success of the school.  This makes my job easier as long as I provide the structure and environment to allow for true collaboration to occur.

My vison for school (Part 1) #SAVMP

With only four days on the job, I realize that campus leaders have more to accomplish than is humanly possible, but must do it anyway.  That reality is both overwhelming and exciting at the same time.  It reminds me that, as a leader, one of my roles is to tap into as well as help develop the leadership skills and abilities of those on my campus.  In this way, more is accomplished, the burden is shared, and everyone is able to have input into the success of the school. 

Before I can truly begin to say where I see my campus going in the future, I have to step back and take a hard look at where we are now.  At the moment, most of my days have been spent trying to prepare for the return of teachers while ensuring that general procedures and policies are in place to facilitate smooth operation of the school.  One of my major areas of reflection for the next few weeks will be the campus vision.  Where do we aim to be in the next year? five years? Ten years? This is a question that needs to be reflected on by all staff as we work to develop a cohesive vision for the school. In general, I know that the relationship between teachers and administrators must become more collaborative.  There has to be a "we" mentality instead of "us" and "them."  There must be an overall understanding that we are all here for children and every decision we make, whether individually or collectively, must be in their best interest, not our own.  If we ever lose sight of that reality, we will have failed in our calling. I am reminded of a quote from E. Don Brown, "If it is good for adults, it is probably not good for kids."

More to come on vision as the year begins and I can stop long enough to truly reflect on this most important matter.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Why I Lead #SAVMP

Over the summer, I logged several thousand miles and endured numerous interviews as I searched for that first "official" school leadership position.  During this process and amid the quiet hours of driving, I was almost forced to answer the question, "Why do I want to be a school leader?"  I know that the role brings long hours, difficult situations, and often the fruits of our labors are not seen immediately.  So, why do I choose to be a school leader? 

The two main reasons I kept coming back to are the ability to serve in a greater capacity as well as positively influence the lives of many more than was ever possible in the classroom. As a classroom teacher, I was able to serve and support a small group of people, usually one hundred or so students a year along with select parents and a few other teachers.  As a school leader, those numbers will increase.  The direct affect on students will likely decrease, however the indirect influence will grow as I serve teachers as an instructional leader.  By providing the structure, support, and assistance that they need, my overall influence will increase. Plus, I will be able to work closer with some of the students who need extra support, especially those who are struggling with behavioral issues, and spend the extra time needed to help them be successful.

As I reflect on my previous school leadership roles (department chair, committee head, academic coach, lead teacher), I realize that what brought me the most enjoyment was serving others and helping them be successful.  That makes sense as I realize that the leaders who I most admired and readily followed were those who made it their job to ensure that others achieved success.  They didn't always provide answers, but instead helped people to find out their own solutions.  They also provided opportunities for people to face challenging situations and then served as a guide to get them through the challenges and grow in the process.  As I enter into my first taste of school administration, I want to be the leader who does the same as I reach people where they are and bring to where they can be.

Tomorrow, I will officially walk into my new position.  I'm sure that as the days proceed, I will add many more reasons I lead (I already have, but don't have room to flesh them out) as well as some days questioning why I chose this career path.  Overall, however, I expect to continue as an educational leader for years to come and expect that my service and influence will only increase over time.