Autumn is the season of cooler weather, crisp leaves on the ground and corn on the cob — all worth looking forward to for sure. But, for me and others in public education, September is also our New Year. It’s a time of starting again, the excitement of seeing the kids back in classrooms, maybe some fun new equipment in the school and the optimism of tackling new challenges with some energy in one’s personal tank.
It’s really a great time of year.
As I enter my 34th year in public education that excitement is still there — freshly polished floors, big ideas on our learning agenda and a bunch of exciting new projects to tackle.
Yet, similar to last fall there is still a feeling of anxiety amongst many in our community. COVID continues to provide a significant distraction for many and a challenge for us as we focus on teaching and learning.
I first heard about the concept of Servant Leadership several years ago and appreciated its main ideas:
A servant leader is someone who “shares power, puts the needs of the employees first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. Instead of the people working to serve the leader, the leader exists to serve the people.”
It’s really about framing one’s MINDSET about how you relate to others in the workplace — about how one goes about their day — in other words, how a leader thinks, speaks and acts to support the people in the organization.
When I contextualize it for myself, I picture it being about my words and my actions that build the confidence, abilities and leadership in others. It’s also an area where I continually think of ways to become better.
Being part of a smaller school district, it is imperative that I lead in areas that build capacity — both in individuals and in our district. It is capacity that helps to build the redundancies in skills and knowledge which enable our district to withstand things like sudden illnesses or departures.