Why I Lead

This summer I ran across a tweet from one of my role models, George Couros, inviting administrators to join him in his initiative called the School Admin Virtual Mentor Program. I immediately signed up!  I mean, what part of that doesn’t sound amazing? School Admin – that’d be me! Virtual – sounds intriguing! Mentor – who doesn’t need more mentors in their lives? Program – if there were no program, there would be no School Admin Virtual Mentor part I suppose!

I have some amazing mentors here in Keller.  My colleague, Carrie Jackson is an admin Rock Star!  She’s not just an amazing principal, but a great person in general.  I’ve learned so much from her in regards to building relationships with students, staff, families, and the community.

My district assigned mentor is Brett Stamm, and  he’s an incredible resource for me.  He is always willing to help out when I have a question, and takes time out of his busy schedule to meet with me.  And he’s brilliant!

These guys, along with many others both in Keller and in my Personal Learning Network, inspire, educate, and motivate me to be a passionate leader.  I look forward to adding the influence of leaders from around the world through the SAVMP.  I encourage everyone to follow the #SAVMP hashtag this year and learn along with us!

And now….on to the show!

The first “assignment” for the SAVMP is to reflect on “Why I Lead:

I lead because I want to be a role model.

This may be the number one reason I lead.  I want to live my leadership through my daily life.  I want students to learn life skills (like mutual respect, empathy, the ability to make mistakes, the importance of laughing, and how to get along with people) through observing my actions every day.  I want teachers to understand what it means to be passionate about a career, truly care about kids, and trusting one another, through seeing me in the halls every day.  And I want my own children to understand the importance of loving your family, taking time to be a kid regardless of age, and the passion needed to be a true Texas Rangers fan, through my interaction with them every day.

I lead because I want to serve.

One of my favorite books on leadership is called, Fred Factorby Mark Sanborn.  Fred is a mailman, and one of the best descriptions of a leader I have ever seen.  Check out the link to learn more about Fred.

Fred’s leadership, according to Sanborn, is focused on these specific areas:

  1. Making a difference.  Fred took an otherwise monotonous job, delivering mail, and made it into an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those he served.  He knew not only the names, but the stories of all those on his route.  He was passionate about serving others.
  2. Relationships. Mr. Sanborn says, “Fred is proof that, in any job or business, relationship building is the most important objective, because the quality of the relationship differentiates the quality of the product or service.” I believe this is true in educational leadership as well.  They won’t follow you if they don’t like you!
  3. Creating value for others.  As a school administrator, I think this is crucial!  I believe it is my job to create value for our teachers, staff, students, parents, and community.  It doesn’t even have to cost anything.  An, “I appreciate what you did for our kids today,” goes a long way toward creating value.  My goal this year is to create value for someone every day, whether it’s an unexpected email, a positive phone call home, or an impromptu breakfast for the office staff.  It’s our responsibility!

I lead because I want to leave a legacy. 

Dan Pink, in his book Drive says, every man’s life is a sentence.  My sentence is,  “He thought of others first.”  I lead because I want to think of others first.  I want to do what’s best for kids…always.  I want to help teachers understand that what they are doing is the most important job in the world.  I want our community to know that we are there for them. I want our parents to know that we love their kids!

That’s why I lead.