Becoming a Leader

Did you know you would be a leader? I never pictured myself as a leader growing up, and I am sure most didn't see me that way either. How did you become a leader?

I was a shy, backward kind of kid, not a standout girl. So when did the change happen? I can think of a few key people and moments in my life, and I am sure you can too!

How can we support leadership today? I believe in the same way it happened for you and me, through individuals providing the support at the right time, modeling, encouraging, and allowing leading.

As an elementary principal, I was new to the position and district. I found myself facing many issues, but I worked through them. I had a student who would cry, throw a fit and fight with his parents to not come to school every day. We were working on everything we could do to get him to school. I could see the grief, fear, and worry in his parent's eyes every day. I would say leave him, and I will take care of him. He would cry and scream, but they trusted and went.

We established plans, worked out tutoring, built relationships, and before you knew it, he was coming to school without crying and screaming.

I selected him to be the principal for the day, and we went to meet my boss. He was coming out of his shyness and started showing us all he had to offer. I, along with others, provided positives, encouragement, and opportunities to model success.

I was transferred the following year as the principal of the middle school. Ryan, the young man I had to help carry into school, would be joining me at this middle school soon. We had three more years to spend together, and I could see him grow!

As he became a high school student, he never missed a chance to visit or connect. He invited me to his honors night to thank an educator. After he graduated from high school, he became the youngest person elected to the city council where he resides. He has lead and organized significant events in efforts to raise funds for cancer. Ryan is known as a community leader. Who thought he would be a leader? Well, I did, and his parents hoped he would. I saw myself in Ryan.  Others had helped nurture me, and providing him with a good plan helped him bloom. I am very proud of Ryan and so many others!

To help develop leaders, try doing some of these things:

  • Create principal for the day (students earn points to buy this as a reward in a program like PBIS or a similar idea)
  • Provide leadership opportunities by having team leaders- (Staff, students, parents)
  • Every week or month, feature a community leader. ( invite them in to speak about what they do, a highlight in your newsletter and announcements about them, and connect home, school and community.)
  • These are just a few; maybe you have ideas you want to share!

Look around. You have leaders to support! Isn't that part of being a leader? Thank you for being part of the solution daily!  The future is counting on us!

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