Here are some examples of some things we are building in our school district:
- SCHOOL DISTRICT CAPACITY – Diversifying the ‘knowledge keepers’ so that there is redundancy when we experience employee absence or turnover.
- Example 1: Each of the district’s senior educational team members has responsibility for K-12 operations. This way, they develop operational experience in the entire system, not just in the school level they came from as an administrator.
- Example 2: We provide duplicate training in our HR Department for all sorts of skills to help reduce gaps or stoppages in service to others in the District.
- PROFESSIONAL IN-SERVICE – Provide district-based workshops on important and relevant topics to build awareness and understanding.
- Example 1: Expert-led workshops are arranged for Management Team on things like the Family Act, Parental Rights, the School Act, Staff Evaluations and even the new Cannabis Legislation.
- Example 2: We provide in-service to teachers and support staff on topics that likely weren’t part of their training, but are still extremely important for student success — things such as trauma-informed practice, mental wellness and mindfulness.
- LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES – Create mentorship and leadership development programs to support teacher growth.
- Example 1: A Teacher Leadership Series was created providing an opportunity for our experienced administrators to share their wisdom with teachers interested in leadership.
- Example 2: We created three new teacher leadership positions to support peer-to-peer mentoring for classroom and non-enrolling teachers.
These are some of the concrete examples of how we are working to build our district — to provide those tangible opportunities where others can learn, grow and become ready to tackle new challenges and even new educational career paths.
However, I want to come back to the idea of MINDSET I was talking about at the beginning of this post — I believe that this is even more important if you want to be an effective leader. Having the right ‘servant mindset’ is critically important in public education, where district success is built upon the relationships we make and the resulting emotional spaces we provide for personal growth.
Here are my thoughts on some critical mindset necessities:
- Show Modesty
- No one likes an egotistical, self-important leader who puts themselves in front of others.
- Be a Risk-Taker
- Take personal risks that are visible to others which, in turn, encourages others to do the same.
- Celebrate Failure (including your own)
- Celebrate failure at LEAST as much as you celebrate success — this shows understanding and compassion as well as building resiliency and opportunity to try again.
- Create Emotional Space
- Show others your openness to discourse and disagreement.
- Build a safe place for dialogue with differing opinions — a place where others feel valued and respected for their thinking.
Successful Leaders Lead By Believing in Others
It’s not the rules or role descriptions about leadership that provide the conditions for a successful work environment — it truly is about the way a leader interacts with their team — HOW they build personal and system capacities within their organization that result in success. It is the leader’s belief and support in others which result in workplaces being healthy, vibrant and successful.