This morning was unlike most weekend mornings. I went through my typical weekday routine — workout, breakfast, shower and off to school. My eight-minute drive passed without enough time to get lost in thought. As I entered the school, my destination was not my classroom, but the gym.
I was meeting about forty fellow teachers, parents and administrators. We were coming together to kick off the process to find a new principal. Our current principal was leaving to start a new middle school after a successful six-year stint. She had implemented a clear vision during her tenure. I had always admired her desire to instill and feed what I called a growth mindset. This meant that she expected students and teachers to approach every day with a passion to learn and grow.
Preparing for the process has me thinking about organizational change, not just for a school but any organization. Replacing a principal or successful leader in any profession is an enormous undertaking. It challenges the organization’s key tenets and beliefs. The process begins to provide clues about a leader’s. Did the leader drive change with shear will and determination, forcing employees to adopt desired behaviors and practices or make the case for a set of shared values, leading people to believe and buy in?
For me, this morning provided some insight into that question. The forty attendees were divided into distinct groups. For example, teachers worked with teachers, administrators with administrators and parents with parents. Each group went through an identical values and future vision process.
The groups came together at the end of the morning to share our discussions. Everyone reported very positive, enthusiastic and lively conversation and, most interestingly, the themes were almost identical. Each group had shared similar values and an enthusiasm for a future vision for the school. The discussion was a testament to our out-going principal’s hard work leadership qualities as well as the faculty and parents who shared a set of values, beliefs and visions. We’re all on the same page. Having everyone’s ideas and values aligned is critical to thoughtful, decision-making. This gives me a lot of confidence moving forward in the process. Let the interviews begin!