I’m now in the third month of my second year as the Principal of an incredible elementary school. Reflecting on my first year I’ve realized that my tail was wagging extremely fast (as tails tend to do at first). Everything was super exciting and I wanted to be involved in all of it. During that first year I thought that “involved” meant sitting at the table and being in the mix.
I’m now learning that “involved” has many different looks. I’m learning that each one of those looks has an important place in development, growth, and positive progress. I’m learning that “involved” leadership and shared ownership are not mutually exclusive concepts, but rather that they’re indelibly connected through trust, support, and collaboration in a genuine partnership-centric organizational paradigm.
So, at the beginning of the school year I announced to our staff that 15/16 would be a year driven by two critical phrases with regard to principal leadership at Meadow Brook: “Sounds awesome!” and, “What can I do to help?”
I work with some of the most skilled, knowledgeable, and capable teachers in the world. Together we serve some of the most intelligent and dynamic students around. Each of us is supported by the astonishing, value-driven dedication of the outstanding families who live in our school community. When I’m not at the table or in the mix I can rest assured that a group of my many adept partners are. Consequently, I know that it’s all good.
The past couple of weeks have been filled with reinforcing examples that support the viability of this two-phrase principal leadership approach here at Meadow Brook. In addition to the many incredible instructional pathways that unfold each day as a result of our teachers’ passions and commitment to student achievement we’ve recently experienced four unique events: a spectacular creative arts award ceremony, a super cool rocket launching, a remarkable Veteran’s Day celebration, and an outstanding Family Literacy Night.
Each of these events was truly awesome. Each was driven by the vision and persevering aspirations of individuals and small groups who took charge and led the way. Each was grounded in teaching and learning. Each was masterfully planned and collaboratively implemented. Each was a representation of a collective voice and shared ownership.
Stepping back is not always easy, not for me anyway. However, stepping back doesn’t mean stepping out. I’m always thrilled to be invited into any process with calls for support or requests for assistance. I enjoy and appreciate when my input is asked for and when my skills or knowledge are tapped. I celebrate opportunities to contribute in any way I can.
That said I’m learning more and more each day that being involved through sharing enthusiasm, offerings of support, and intentional availability can lead to the unfolding of wonderful progress that I might not have otherwise imagined. This two-phrase principal leadership style is opening my eyes to a world of possibilities.
I couldn’t be more excited about rounding out an incredible week of learning and growth with the knowledge that another is about to begin. I couldn’t be more proud of or confident in the incredible people I serve.
Live. Learn. Lead.
Dream Big. Work Hard. Be Well.