Educational Leadership and COURAGE
Recently I posted a piece of Educational Leadership and FEAR to highlight impairments I certainly witness among educational leaders. The Susan Jeffers thesis was my inspiration: If we wait to stop feeling scared before trying to [actually] do what frightens us, we could wait forever; pressing ahead is the only way to erase fear.” (Source is the NY Times report on Jeffers’ passing, November 12, 2012.) Jeffers’ thesis is instructive for educational leaders.
Well, here are some positive examples of where courage has won out over fear in the circles where I travel.
1. The Duval County (FL) School Board appointing Nikolai Vitti as their new school superintendent. This (many would say) too young and (others will say) too aggressive Harvard-trained leader has great promise among a field of more comfortable candidates who could have been selected. For a school board (my former employer) that could not confront a blatant ethics issue on the part of one of its members, this is a positive shift in attitude and behavior. Good luck Superintendent Vitti.
2. The boldness of Superintendent, Dr. Michael Bregy, and his school board, and whole school community in CUSD300 in Illinois. Last year when the community (including a train load of students) lobbied hard and made good progress in a sweetheart deal between state government and and a corporation which could have crippled the financial resources of this district for its Kids, the courage and masterful leadership of Bregy and governance of his board was inspiring and effective.
3. The intense innovation of Superintendent Dr. Greg Firn in rural Anson County, NC. Firn’s strategic uses of outside technical assistance of my Firm’s (Atlantic Research Partners) work to build internal instructional capacity has been inspiring and quite effective. Further Firn’s uses of proven neuroscience interventions offered by Scientific Learning to build the cognitive capacity of his students was been courageous and also inspiring. Maybe Firn’s aggressive technology strategies to get computers and devices into students’ hands for in-and-outside of school has gone far to bridge the “digital divide” among his students. Think how many would say, “Oh, you can’t give those kids computers and iPads. They will [choose your own verb: sell, hawk, destroy, abuse] them.”
There are many more positive examples, but these three stick out favorably in my mind. We need more of these positive examples, The Kids are counting on us!