As a participant in the School Admin Virtual Mentor Program, one of the challgenges given to me is to reflect on my practices as an adminstrator through my blog. And as I notice that my first (and only) post was dated on July 6, it seems that it is a good challenge for me to have.
Why do I lead? I have been pondering this question quite a bit this summer. I have to admit- it was a rough first year as an administrator. Lots of challenges, lots of situations that I could have never imagined having to face. Yet, face them I did. Some I met more effectively than others. Still, through the toughest times, I never considered NOT meeting the challenges head on. Does that quality make me a leader? I would like to think that it does. Does my willingness to look at a situation and reflect on what I could have done better make me a leader? I hope so. I am a leader because someone else led me. They believed in me, in the qualities that I showed in the classroom, in staff meetings, in the community- and then they gave me opportunities to further develop those qualities in a larger arena. Colleen Pacatte was my key mentor during this process, though she certainly wasn't the only one who encouraged me to stretch my wings. Colleen encouraged me to join a group of highly motivated, invested members of the school community to design and bring to life a very special school. If you have ever been a part of building something from the ground up, you understand just how rare an opportunity this was. Every single piece of how that school would run, from classroom design, to having a dining room versus a lunch room, the unique 8th grade Spotlight banquet we created to honor our graduating 8th graders, the monthly recognition ceremonies, held long before PBIS came to be...came from US- the staff members, parents and community members who invested countless hours to make sure everything was in place, who believed that we were creating something incredible. I had ownership in that school, stock that paid in dividends that cannot be counted in terms of a bank account. It was a heady experience- one that was almost impossible to walk away from. And yet, when the time came, I was able to walk away, taking with me the knowledge and confidence I had gained from the experiences I had as a part of the staff at Gurnee Grade School. I lead because I know how incredible it feels when someone believes in you, believes that you can make a difference. I lead because, deep down, I believe that we all are capable of being leaders- in different ways, in different situations. It is our responsibility to share that leadership with those around us, to foster the talents of our staff, to share the awesome feeling that comes from building something special. This is why I lead.