Why do I lead? It's an awesome question that I reflect on nearly every day. I was never a formal leader early in my life. I lead more by example and action and not by words. I was never the captain of any of the sports teams that I was a part of, but I know that athletes followed me because of my attitude and work ethic. As I told one of my basketball players many years ago, you don't have to be formally named a captain to be a captain. Just work hard, keep a positive attitude, and people will notice that you are a leader. That was the same advice I got from my high school coaches, and I think that it helped me get a scholarship to college. I worked hard, had a positive attitude, did what I was told, and I got noticed.
As a teacher, I didn't have a formal leadership role, either. I just did what needed to be done. I taught from 1987-2002, a span of 15 years. I taught 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Some would say that I couldn't hold a job. They might be correct, but it also gave me experience in working with a variety of age groups in a variety of schools. I was also able to coach, both at the high school and middle school levels. It was yet another opportunity to lead students. My final few 12 years of teaching were all at the middle school level. I taught many content areas and worked with many teachers. The best parts of my middle school experience were working as teams with teachers and lunch duty. Maybe that's why I like my current placement as a middle school principal. I have the privilege of working with teams of teachers and I have contact with the students every day during lunch duty.
I now am in my 14th year as a middle school administrator, 5 years as an assistant principal and now in my 9th year as a principal. I work with the best students, colleagues, and families one can imagine. I have the support of my family. Every day is a new challenge and another chance to celebrate the awesome accomplishments of our students and staff.
Why do I lead? I lead because it's my calling. I lead because I have the chance to impact the lives of those I come into contact with every day. I lead because of the experiences I have had in school and in life. I lead because of the support of my family. I lead because others follow me, have faith in me, and believe in me.
Honestly, all educators are leaders. I'm no different than any of you who are reading this. We all have the same characteristics I mentioned above- education is a calling, we impact the lives of others, we learn from our experiences, and we have the support of those around us.
So why do you lead?