I was invited to attend a brainstorming session at The Ohio State University with a group of principals and school leaders from around Central Ohio. Our purpose was to help advise OSU in their development of a principal institute that will be held on campus in the summer of 2021. While we were introducing ourselves we were asked to share our name, school and something we love about being a principal. I was sitting near the middle of the room and was relieved to not have to go first. As everyone was sharing, I was in agreement with all of the reasons they love being a principal---connections to kids; working with teachers; building culture; impacting lives and many more great and inspirational thoughts. But, when it was my turn I knew I had to keep it real. I said, “I agree with everything that everyone has said so far, but I just have to add CHAOS. I absolutely LOVE chaos. I love it when a kid is freaking out, the phone is ringing, I have a meeting that I’m late for and a parent is yelling at me!” Well, let me tell you, that answer broke the ice and then people starting sharing some really REAL things!
My answer was completely true! I love CHAOS, which is why this place is perfect for me. Thank you for spending these chaotic days with me. Thank you for understanding when days go by and you don’t even see me. Thank you for the work you do amidst the chaos. And, most of all, enjoy the break from the chaos today!
Anna is retiring and it’s time for me to face it! March 31st is her last day and on Monday I have to start the interview process for our new secretary. Greg Hennes asked me what questions I would like to ask and in all honesty I have no idea. There is just no replacing Anna Deri. When I started out as the principal at JW, I had absolutely NO IDEA what I was doing. I’m not kidding-no idea at all. I was a 32 year old kindergarten teacher and literacy coach with four kids including 15 month old twin! I didn’t even have a real principal license and I had never, ever encountered the things that you all had been dealing with on a daily basis at JW. But, Anna took me under her wing, she taught me what to do in a way that made it seem like I was the one making the decisions even though I wouldn’t make a move without her approval.
How can there even be questions to ask that could help me find a new secretary who is as loyal, dedicated, caring, honest, funny, insightful and all around wonderful as Anna Deri? I just don’t think those questions exist. Anna is a true “one of a kind”. Who is going to refill my tissue box and alcohol wipe my phone with me even knowing?
I will keep you updated throughout this process and once we narrow the candidates to 3 finalists we will have a committee from JW interview the candidates as well.
My mom sent me this and it sums Anna up perfectly. There is just no other way to describe her.
I find it ironic that our Lead Now meeting last week was about clarity! Man did I miss the boat on getting out ahead of the Master Facility Plan. But, I learned so much.
Here is what I learned this week:
1-Don't avoid things that make you uncomfortable
2-RECOGNIZE when you are avoiding things that make you uncomfortable
3-Step up and face it head on
4-Ask questions when you don't understand
5-Seek clarity for yourself so you can be clear with others
6-Nothing is accomplished from BCD
I'll take what I learned and work to be a better leader!
Have a restful 4 day week my friends.
Thank you for your hard work.
I didn’t realize it until this school year but I think I started to reach a point in my career where I thought I knew everything. Teaching was easy to me and even most aspects of being a principal started to feel easy to me, which I never thought would ever happen! Then I started looking at data differently and the data slapped me in the face! As Lisa Callif says, “data doesn’t lie!” We started looking at it differently and we started changing things. Then the other day I came across this quote—“Be TEACHABLE. You are not always right!”
It’s a great reminder to me! And, I’m thinking that it’s a great reminder to many of you, too! Let’s continue to keep our minds open to new possibilities. The growth I’ve seen in us as a staff this year is incredible and as we just finished this second round of data team meetings it’s amazing to see the growth our students have made as well!