Monday, January 17, 2011

Building leaders

The title "Building leaders" has two different meanings to me.  The first references building staff to be leaders in the school.  The second references staff who are building leaders in the school.  Something occurred last week that made me want to discuss building leaders, but I'll get back to that at the end.
I think that part of my job as a principal is to build leaders in the school.  I see all staff having the ability to lead in some way or another in the school.  They just need the opportunity to experience what being a leader is all about.  The trick is trying to find the experiences in which the staff member will be a successful leader.  I try to provide opportunities for staff on grade level or school teams.  Sometimes the staff members feel comfortable to lead and sometimes they don't.  I can't give up on providing them the opportunities.  I must continue to provide support and encouragement.  Being a leader is not easy and it isn't always a positive experience.  I do know, however, that when I have a good experience as a leader, I want to take on another opportunity to lead.
Now I'd like to discuss the thing that occurred to me last week that brought me to writing this blog post.  As with most principals, I have meetings that I need to attend.  Most of the meetings are called by me.  Last week I was tutoring some 5th graders in math before school.  I found out, after the fact, that I had missed a meeting with members of the school's RtI team.  It wasn't on my schedule because they had set the meeting without me.  At first I was upset because I wanted to be at the meeting with them.  It was a selfish response.  I should have been happy that they met without me.  The RtI team recognizes the importance of their work so they got together without me to discuss how they will share the information with the entire staff next month.  They are definitely leading the way with RtI in the school.  I have provided the opportunity and the support and the teachers have taken on the leadership role.  They are building leaders.
This is but one example of the building leaders in our school.  There are many more examples.  I need to continue to provide the opportunities, support, and encouragement to building leaders, with regards to both meanings of "building leaders".