Thu, 06/20/2019
Berwick Academy
31 Academy St
South Berwick, ME 03908

ISANNELeads Blog 2016

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Day one of ISANNELEADS:  this morning, as I was packing to attend, trying to envision what I might need or want for the week I experienced the first twinges of anxiety.  One might ask, why would I have anxiety about attending a week long class on leadership. Initially, the anxiety was simple, would I pack the right clothes, would I fit in, what about all the loose ends at work. Finally at the point I was questioning whether I should even be attending, the dog crawled under the porch and refused to come out.  I was supposed to be leaving in 20 minutes to arrive in Tilton on time.

I have a lot to think about after today’s first day of ISANNELeads. As I came into today, I was thinking that it I would be getting some ideas about how to accomplish some of my goals at my school in my current role. After one day, I realize it is not really about that, but about me. I think this week will help me reflect on who I am as a leader. It will also help me to think about my future in education beyond my current role. It is only then that I can help my school accomplish greatness.

“I think you should go. It’s the perfect next step.” My headmaster told me this hours after returning from an ISANNE conference in Portland, ME. He was talking about what I lovingly came to refer to as the ISANNE “leadership bootcamp”, ISANNEleads. I of course said yes.

As I leave this week, I am struck by the refrain to “Hire Happy People”.  I would go further and say that it is critical to not only hire them happy, but to encourage them and help to maintain that happiness in as many ways as possible for the entirety of the team’s existence.

When I woke up this morning and collected myself in preparation for my one-on-one meeting with Jim, I realized that I would probably cry. Because, like Cynthia, I have the weeper gene. And conversations like the one I was anticipating are exactly the kind of thing that triggers the tears. There's something about talking honestly with someone I really respect, who knows me even just a little, and hearing that person give me advice, that cuts me right to the core.

As others have discussed before me, the ISANNELEADS group has had the opportunity to learn about, reflect on, and discuss with others the innate qualities that make us who we are. MBTI and FIRO-B vocabulary and acronyms have been flying through the air. And this is a wonderful thing. We should acknowledge who we are and be our authentic selves. Our students, in particular, can smell a fraud a mile away.

Betsy Myers discussed a new way to think about leadership and one of the early questions she posed was “what are the assumptions and beliefs you have made about yourself and others that are wrong?” In my mind it instantly took me to #LikeAGirl. I watched the clip again today and wrestled with the gender gap question. Betsy did indeed point to some of the challenging experiences relating to women and leadership, yet her insights embraced a need for a shift in the narrative around power. For both men and women.

Two quotes from the week that resonate with me are:

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored,” Aldous Huxley

“Mishandled conversations create the very outcomes we dread” Patrick Bassett

Walking yesterday with my suitemate Binaca, I commented on how some of the phrases of the week were resonating with me in such a profound way.

 “Be strategic in your voice”,  “do the right thing right”,  “some serves do not deserve a return”. Isn’t it true though, that throughout our lives we are given good advice?  By our parents, by our friends, by our colleagues, but for a multitude of reasons we don’t, or can’t, hear it.

I’m here, I assume like everyone else, to learn about leadership in schools.  That is what this program is all about, right?  I mean it’s in the name of the program. I'm happy to report that we are learning A LOT about said topic, and from some of the best minds in the business--er field. 

I also came here expecting to meet some good people and maybe even make a couple of new friends. My expectations have been exceeded in this regard, too. What an impressive cohort to be a part of!