Monday, March 9, 2015

Finding Comfort in the "Un-Comfort" Zone

Encouraging risk taking has been my focus as a leader this year. I have challenged our staff and students as well as myself personally to push comfort zones on a daily basis. As a school we celebrate risks and failing forward. We provide safety nets so that risks can be taken with support. We use data to help us know if our strategies are working. It has been incredible to see this unfold throughout our building. From our No Worksheet Holidays to STEAM Family Nights, it is evident that risk taking is becoming the norm, not only on special occasions but EVERY single day in our classrooms. I have also been sure to model risk taking as well as a leader. Our actions say more than any words could ever hope to accomplish. I have worked each day to model what I expect in our staff and students. I had found my "Un-Comfort Zone." Or so I thought...

One week ago I had no idea that I would be accepting a new role as middle school principal in our district for next year. This was a very bittersweet and "Un-Comfort Zone" decision for me. I am excited to work with the middle school staff, students and parents. However, having to tell my existing staff about the move was one of the hardest things I've ever done. We are a team and a family. We have been dedicated over the past seven years to develop and truly live our mission, vision and collective commitments. We've overcome failure and roadblocks by rising out of school improvement due to our tireless efforts.  We said goodbye to two students that left this earth way too early. We've celebrated weddings, babies and family milestones together. We have built a student-centered professional learning community. We have grown and learned so much together. We've found comfort in our "Un-Comfort Zones." 

I then think back to seven years ago and remember that same "Un-Comfort Zone" as I started the journey of my first principalship. I had the same bittersweet feelings saying goodbye to a classroom of students and amazing colleagues. As hard as it was to make the  move, it was the right decision. I have learned so much from the experiences and opportunities. I have grown in more ways than I ever thought possible. I am eternally grateful to my McIntire staff for teaching me more about leadership than I could read in any book or learn in college classes.  Each person has taught me in his or her own way how to strive for greatness.  They have taught me to take my job very seriously, but not myself. They have taught me that it is all about our kids, but we can't forget to support each other. They have taught me that a leader has to take risks and model what is expected for staff and students. They have taught me that there are no excuses when striving to meet goals, no matter the roadblocks. They have taught me that a leader takes people where they need to go, which is not always where they want to go. They have taught me to lead not only with my head, but also my heart. They have taught me that we truly can build a school that students, educators and parents want to run INTO each day and not out. They have taught me that we must celebrate our students and each other every day. They have taught me that when we put our focus on raising human potential that better test scores will result and to never mix up the emphasis. Most importantly, they taught me that AMAZING things happen in our "Un-Comfort Zones." They have taught me all of this and so much more and for this I will always be thankful. 

I know that because of the amazing staff, the students of McIntire Elementary will continue to climb to greatness no matter who sits in my chair next year.  Our processes and structures are strong and shared leadership is the norm. The McIntire team will continue to drive our relentless mission of high levels of learning for ALL. This is the reason that, although it won't be easy to leave, I will be able to find comfort in my new "Un-Comfort Zone."

Sunday, March 8, 2015

March News and McIntire CHALLENGE!

McIntire Elementary March Newsletter

Finding a Cure that STICKS!

Help our students make a difference and maybe even duct tape their principal to the wall!