Dr. John Creeden

Dr. John Creeden, Prior to his appointment at School Year Abroad, Jack was headmaster of Providence Day School in Charlotte, North Carolina, an independent day school of more than 1,500 students in grades K-12. For a dozen years before PDS, Jack was headmaster of Fountain Valley School of Colorado, an independent boarding and day school of 235 students in grades 9-12. a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, Jack went on to the University of Wisconsin, where he earned an M.A. in English literature and a Ph.D. in educational administration.

“Leadership Comes From Knowing Yourself”

“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.

Hire Happy People

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.

I have never been so determined not to forget something...

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.

Authenticity with Strategy

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.

Courageous conversations

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

Are you ready to hear it?

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.

"It’s all about the bus..."

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!

Am I “Right” or am I Wrong?

As I try and disseminate the mounds of information at the midpoint of this program I keep coming back to this resonating theme of “rightfulness”.  Jim Mooney advises, “Do the right thing right.”  Linda Johnson suggests that we ponder, “What is the right thing to do?” as our first question in response to a crisis.  Lastly, Phil Peck lists virtue, integrity, and trustworthiness as some of the qualities / characteristics that heads look for in prospective leaders.  So if we all seem to value mindfulness as a driving force for leadership then why are we not incorporating this quality into the


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