During the past few years, I have spent lots of time learning from others, deepening my understanding of school practices, reflecting and putting this work into action. I have relished the opportunity to lead a school and help shape the learning experiences for students while supporting our teachers and helping them re-discover their passion for working with students. This journey is far from over, but it has occurred to me that I have been so busy learning and supporting others, that I also need to re-assess my vision as a leader for the school community. As leaders, we must continually have a vision for our growth as well as the school community and the staff we support. I am curious how you are “Setting your vision as a leader” that allows for continual growth and a balance in your life.
When I think of my vision as a leader, I use an analogy that I gained from others to help reflect upon the essential core values into my work for the school community. This is simply from my perspective, but I hope by looking at these principles it will help you to think about the vision you are creating or working on for your school community.
Learn – Educational practices are rapidly changing to meet student’s needs. It is essential that leaders make time to get better at their skills and learn from the true practitioners in the field and their best practices. I try to spend 5 hours a week on this learning, as it is paramount to grow my skillset both as a leader and for the school community. We then must work with staff to provide professional learning that is relevant, engaging and meets their needs.
Engage – To help the school community move forward in one direction, it is imperative to connect with the parents and staff within the community. The learning should involve everyone and be visible as the backbone of our work. Most importantly, engage the students and take time to get their thoughts/concerns, which will help guide our process. Overall, when I think of engaging the school community, I try to focus on developing a sense of trust with stakeholders so that everyone has a vested interest in our work.
Adapt – Continuous change will happen in education, so as leaders we must continually adapt our growth to provide the support of others. We must be flexible and be open to change when it occurs; including the vision we have for our school. As David Geurin shares, “be firm with your principles but flexible with your practices”. This message resonates on how we must continually adapt to meet changing needs.
Delegate – A single leader should not try to lead a school. Collaborative leadership and maximizing the strengths of others is essential. This builds the confidence and their capacity to lead.
Empower – By providing opportunities for others to learn and try new things, we are giving them chances to take risks, remove fear and provide innovate opportunities. This is true for professional learning for staff and then for students within the classroom as well.
Reflect – As educators, we learn by doing and trying new things. However, the learning is most impactful when we reflect upon that learning experience. It is not important how a person reflects, but making that a consistent part of your work is essential as it helps to drive your behaviors, attitudes and efforts. This reflection is needed for leaders but also for staff as they innovate and try new classroom experiences.
Serve – As I remind myself frequently, it is not about “me”, but rather what we can provide for our students. In a larger scope, I think it is about what we can provide for our teachers and school community. Servant leadership is modeling the behaviors we seek, empowering others to try new approaches to help others grow in their capacity and put the needs of the school above mine.
Reviewing these core principles help me to set a vision and a process for continual growth for our school community. It has allowed me to set a vision on being “A Lead Learner that is future driven on helping students, educators and administrators collectively to grow and learn from each other.” I encourage you to look at these principles mentioned above and how it applies to you in your growth as a learner for your school community.
I look forward to hearing from you and how you set your vision as a leader. Comment below or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org