As we woke up on November 8, Election Day, there was a sense of anticipation. When we woke up on November 9 there were many questions about what the results meant for public education and I heard from many of you that there were students that were concerned about their futures. There were staff members concerned about how their professional lives might be impacted by future policy decisions.
Since November, I would suggest that we are facing challenges as leaders of addressing the concerns of our students, staff and at times our communities. We all look to our leaders for answers and at times comfort.
Commissioner Cassellius demonstrated strong leadership when she issued a Special Notice for Superintendents and Directors on February 1. The Commissioner stated in part: “Every student, irrespective of their race, religion or ethnicity, has a place in our classrooms and the right to an excellent education. We are devoted to ensuring that”.
What can each of us do within our communities to effectively lead our schools and communities? Patrick Sweeney, in an article entitled Effectively Leading Through These Tough Times, which appeared in the September 2010 issue of Leadership Excellence, identified three important things that leaders must do.
First, Sweeney said that leaders must know the people they work with. Focus on the strengths that your staff brings to the table. Reflect on your strengths and determine how the strengths of your staff can best be utilized to accomplish your mission.
Second, work to replace fear with confidence! Sweeney states, one of the most important aspects of effective leadership is the power to set a positive tone. During challenging times is not the time to complain about the challenges. An effective leader lets his/her staff know that he/she believes in them and that they can create a brighter future.
Lastly, an effective leader establishes and grows a culture of collaboration. Sweeney suggests that you are able to encourage conflicting opinions, while creating collaboration. Effective leaders are able to establish a positive tone and establish feelings of confidence in challenging times.
Always remember that your staff and community are looking to you for reassurance and guidance during challenging times. Regardless of the challenge, stay focused on your district mission and work continuously to meet the ever-changing needs of your students!
As always please contact me at (651) 319-1211 or firstname.lastname@example.org if I can ever be of service to you! •