Welcome back to a new school year. Enjoy our imovie for the upcoming year.


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This morning my husband and I contemplated visiting another church instead of attending our

own.  Boy am I glad we didn’t. We had a guest preacher and his sermon topic was “how to get

unstuck”.

 

The central theme was that we get comfortable in what we’ve always done. He talked about the

routines we have in the church and in our own personal lives.  He then went on to talk about

how everyone has their own routine and they rarely break out of their habits. This got me to t

hinking about what has me stuck and what habits am I holding on to that keep me stuck.

 

We all get stuck at some point.  We get stuck in heartache, resentment, disappointment and the

predictability of our lives. It can seem paralyzing to make a decision and then we remained

paralyzed by indecision.  Being stuck can even lead to feelings of being trapped or in a hopeless

situation.  I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I like my routines and habits but I don’t want to

get stuck. 

 

So as I continue this leadership journey, I find myself at a crossroad.  Am I willing to risk an

unfamiliar path? Will that path lead to a steep difficult incline? A restful retreat? Or maybe even

a lowly valley? Will I bump into something that will alter the path of my life? Is this a way to get

unstuck?

 

For me I’m learning the following:

  1. I should try something new (I won’t rehash that. Just read http://leadership123.edublogs.org/2012/03/28/try-something-new/ for my thoughts on that).
  2. Start Now- We tell ourselves that we will start tomorrow or someday soon.  Guess what? That day never comes.  Do it now!
  3. Reward yourself for good behavior- That’s right! Set a goal and treat yourself to something you’ve wanted when you reach the goal (I’ve got my eyes on a stunning pair of earrings).
  4. Finally, don’t expect anyone to do this for you.  You only have yourself.  No matter how many people follow you, ultimately it’s up to you.

 

 

Change is hard. Routine is easy. If you are never challenged you will never grow. What do have

that causes you to reach? Are you bored? Then get off the beaten path. It will raise your view of

life. Enjoy life. Go on! Be happy!

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Recently I had an opportunity to visit the Lincoln Memorial and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.  I had visited DC many times and had seen the Lincoln Monument but this was my first time visiting the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.   My first stop was the Lincoln Monument and, as I stood there taking pictures, I found myself in amazed by all of the people of various cultures surrounding me.  All of these people were here to see how United States had gained freedom. Clearly our journey has not been perfect but none the less, these people were here to see how the United States had gotten to where we are.  

As I moved from the foot of the Lincoln statue to the plaque that featured the Gettysburg  address,  I was struck by these words: 

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

 

I’ve stood in this spot before and read these words.  I’ve heard the address given in history classes and on stage but there was something about this day and this moment in time. I couldn’t put my finger on what I was feeling it at the time.  But the words :

 

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work and it is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us“       …just kept echoing in my head. I left there feeling like I was supposed to take something from this experience but I couldn’t grasp the lesson.

 MLK, Jr. Memorial

When we arrived at the Martin Luther King Jr Monument, I was initially disappointed  (I thought the statue would be bigger).   You approach the statue  be walking through two large 28 foot stones  and you come in from the back  of the memorial.  Before you get to the actual memorial,  you begin to see this clearing that overlooks the Tidal Basin and the view is flanked by a stunning display of Cherry trees.  As you come around the side of the memorial, the image of Martin Luther King, Jr. begins to materialize from the stone.  As I stood at the foot of this memorial , my initial disappointed had given way to awe and a sense of peace.  And there it was again, this nagging presence that there is something else. But what?


Was it  something about these two places and these two men.  Clearly they are linked by history.  I began thinking about what they had in common.
 
  • King’s most famous ‘dream’ speech was given in the centennial year of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. And King saw Lincoln, for all of his possible flaws and conflicted racial views, as someone as devoted to equality as any great American of the 19th century, and one who had done more within the constraints of his constitutional power to end slavery than any of his predecessors. 
  • Both were assassinated while addressing the endemic racism of the United States of America.
  • Both are known for their great oratory skills and their speeches rank among the greatest given.

I was still coming up with nothing.  I hate to end this post here but I haven’t quite figured out the feelings that I have.  I thought by writing out my feeling i would be able to capture this feeling that just won’t let me go.  This is not the last you will hear on these thoughts,  I have a feeling that this is only the beginning.

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All of my life, I’ve been blessed to work in good places with good people. I’ve had an opportunity to learn and grow in each place that I’ve been. Millville is no different. I’m proud that I have the opportunity to shape the lives of our students. When you begin to think of the magnitude of education children and preparing them for a successful future, the thought of it can be overwhelming. My new job has many responsibilities and there are days that are very overwhelming and trying. Today was not one of those days!

We are preparing our opening day celebration and I’m excited because this is the first time that the entire district will be together. We are planning a day of celebration and inspiration. Many people have been trying to get more details about the day and we are trying to keep a little mystery about the day. We just want to start the year with the common theme that _ We all can make a difference!”

A few of the administrators put together an iMovie of them trying to get more information. I just wanted to share it with all of you.

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The last six months in my new position have been a world wind.  Trying to learn all of my new duties while not having others suffer as I catch up has been a constant battle. On January 3rd, I began the next leg on my leadership journey.  I had been a Principal in the district for eleven years and I thought I had a good grasp on what the new job entailed- maybe 75-80%.  I wasn’t even close.  It was probably closer to 25-30%.  It seems that every moment of my time is consumed and I really haven’t had a lot of time to spend reflecting on the things that I’ve learned along the way.

 

Our district is closed every Friday during the summer and I’ve even used those days as catch up days. This Friday, a friend and mentor finally convinced me to slow down so we scheduled a golf day.  When I woke up Friday morning it was pouring rain. So, I find myself with a little free time and I’m enjoying this moment to finally reflect.   These are a few things that I’ve learned in the last six months.

 

1.  Making a successful transition is about more than simply not failing. I had to figure out where I could get small wins as a springboard while avoiding landmines.  With any new position, you don’t want to go in and make radical changes, but you do need to identify area where you can get small wins. These small wins begin to form a stair-step to bigger items to tackle.

 

2.  It’s lonely near the top.  As I’ve moved up the ladder, I’ve found that I can’t keep some of the friendships with my colleagues in the same way.  My supervisory position now means that I have to make some unpleasant decision and I have to hold people  accountable on district goals.  As I find my friendly circle of former colleagues shrinking, I’ve sought out a few mentors who are able to help me stay balanced and encourage me along the way.  These are people who have been in my shoes and have already walked this way.  It’s been very helpful to have someone to talk to in this transition.

 

   3.  One size does not fit all in leadership. Too often people try to lead everyone the same and it just doesn’t work that way. Even though I work with adults, I still have to work with people who shut down, attempt to manipulate others, don’t get along with others, shirk responsibilities and people who just don’t follow through. Each person is an individual and my task is recognizing what makes them truly unique, how they operate and how they need to be lead to produce the best results for the district.

 

4.  I don’t have to have the answer for every question- There are many changes going on internally and there are always new directives from the State Department. Often times these things cause a lot of anxiety for the people around me.  I’m learning to communicate in an honest way with the staff. When I don’t know, I tell them, but when I do find out, I let them know. I have found this helpful not only for communication but it also helps build trust.

 

 

Leadership is  all about influencing others-working with and relating to people. Every day is indeed a challenge but I love every day.   I’m certain the next six months will be filled with more new challenges and new learning opportunities. I look forward to sharing them with you as I continue to grow.

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