Well I have made it! Officially into my 3rd week as a principal. This journey has been such an amazing ride. I am so thankful to have crossed paths with many people that have helped me along the way. I would not be who I am today without the support of my family, the faith and trust of Liz Bryan, and all of my friends within New Tech Network and at New Tech schools around the country. Throughout my time in education, I have learned so many valuable lessons that have come to fruition in my first 3 weeks as a school leader. I’d like to briefly share what things have been my biggest takeaways:
Enthusiasm is Contagious
I am a firm believer in a positive approach. By no means do I expect all people to think, act, or feel the way I do. However, I have come to find that enthusiasm is a dangerous weapon. If harnessed correctly, it can help foster an environment that encourages positive risk-taking, promotes deeper thinking, and most important makes coming to work fun. The work we do is hard, but so worth it when we are willing to approach it from a lens that lets us use all that stress for good.
Communication is Key
This is not a new concept. Creating systems that allow for stakeholders to easily access information is important. But what is more important, is communicating clearly so that information can be enabled into action. So much time is spent on logistics. I am a firm believer in Inbox Zero and that concept has even been challenged in these first 3 weeks. We have really focused on normalizing our communication strands to make sure that each party involved can be the most efficient and effective at what they need to do. Our logistics team is using Voxer to communicate and it has been fun to continue to explore new ways to get better at communicating as a school.
The World is In Your Hand
I have always felt that I can do a pretty good job at juggling others people’s needs. However, I have always had an issue at being over-involved. It is just in my humanly nature, but I am working at building the collective efficacy and capacity of those around me. With that being said, I am learning more and more how central the role of school leader is to the school ecosystem. Everyone’s problems are your problems. What might feel like a small bleep on your radar is someone else’s greatest need and concern. Their Titanic is sinking and you are just trying check your voicemail for once. Balancing everyone around you’s world in your hand is a challenging task, but key to keeping the school moving forward.
It’s Still About the Students
I have always believed that adults are the biggest hurdles to student success. Whether that be home situations, external parties, or even the adults in the school. In my first 3 weeks, it remains apparent, it’s still about the students. I have no problem with working on something late at night if it gives me more opportunities to be around students while at school. If I really want to know what is happening ON my campus, I need to be IN my campus. We all know this can be challenging, but I feel like even with all of the vultures that can pull at me, I have a pretty good grasp on being a student-centered principal.
2 weeks down, many more chances to keep learning, growing, and getting better. It hasn’t been a perfect couple of weeks. I know I still have lightyears to go, but I can tell you one thing, the buzz of excitement in the New Tech High community is on fire right now and I love it!