When central office leaders spend time as guest teachers, we are better positioned to learn about and address the ins and outs related to systemic equity in the district we lead.
Were you using your equity lens for the Super Bowl on Sunday? I was.
And here is where the reminders of my imperfections as a leader come in. Each weekend as I strive for sharp, rigid lines in my carpet, I am also reminded of my desire for more linear methods of delegation, more definitive processes for decision-making, and more precise organizational systems to help me accomplish the short and long term goals I’ve established for myself as a leader, and for our district as a whole.
It’s been years since that article came out, but I can recall the sentiment with great clarity. It left an imprint on my memory, as it was the first time I had ever experienced such strong emotions as a professional.
I’ve worked my entire career to be inclusive and equitable; to promote a culture of emotional and physical safety for students and adults. So I have to believe that changes geared toward helping all students and adults feel a sense of belonging, connection, and meaningful engagement in our schools are better achieved by being for something rather than against.
Occupying the back seat is conveying your desire to dismantle age-old rules of etiquette and blaze new trails. It’s about sending a distinct message about your style of leadership, and your desire to ensure a level playing ground for ideas and creative insight. Finally, it’s about expressing a leadership philosophy that demonstrates shared importance and a willingness to set ego aside for the betterment of the group.
I’ve experienced how our system can stack the deck against folks who are already struggling to get by, making it nearly impossible to ever escape the conditions that confine and shatter them. I’ve made it my life’s work to help open doors, windows, and other crevices of hope for those burdened by the failures of systemic injustice. I came to realize over time that I could be an agent of change; that I had capacity and untapped potential to make a difference for those who feel disenfranchised.