Oh no... one more deadline... one more commitment...

Running a small school means that my week may be filled with sudden emergency transportation for a field trip, or a quiet moment of writing interrupted by a child at my office door, or a call from MEMIC or a Board member, and then a trip to the bank for a line of credit draw followed by grabbing something at the market for lunch on the run…and that’s when an AHA! happens. This deadline was looming and, AHA! occurred in aisle 4 where I ran into a colleague who works in financial planning and we launched a discussion about the implications to non-profits of the new tax law.

“Don’t let it worry you, Becky,” she said, “You have always operated from an abundance mindset. Don’t let financial anxiety change you.   How are things going?” What could I say…line of credit, enrollment numbers, deferred maintenance…ugh! BUT, what I told her about was the culture on campus, the current enthusiasm of the faculty and the shared vision for an extraordinary future even when we are unsure of the exact path (and thus the all morning session tomorrow with a business development and investment consultant and my Board.) “Remember Peter Drucker’s advice”, she said, “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast Every Day.”

And then I realized why I had said yes to taking on this blog post for you…because ISANNE is there for me, for US.

I believe it is my job to take care of my faculty, to be there for them, to support them so that they can do their very best - and I am not always perfect at it. I am tired. My mother died this month. But what a culture we have at Riley. The children greeted me back after a few brief days of bereavement leave with a GIANT card, the faculty presented me with a bench with a view of the entire campus, and our Board of Trustees had it engraved with a favorite passage from Keats Endymion. I cried… authentically.   Not seemingly a great strategy for leadership and care of my faculty – but an amazing culture. Anything feels possible.

“True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed. . . . Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.”  —Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

Our ISANNE gatherings give us the opportunity to be authentic, to inspire one another and be supported by the best thought leaders in the region. Thank you.

And another thing, a tip I share with you… I have absolutely learned to make our ISANNE gatherings a restorative, self-care get-away too. I stay an extra night, and in the uninterrupted quiet of a room I bring my entire desktop, I make lists, I read the inspiring articles I haven’t had time to. I take a walk (and sometimes indulge in a massage) at the beautiful spots Laurie and Tedda bring us to.

Let ISANNE conferences be a time for you, too, to restore that sense of abundance, to acknowledge your limitations and find the time to ponder an envisioned future. Take care of you!

About The Author

Rebecca Clapp

Head of School, Riley School

Becky attended Milton Academy, earned a Bachelor's degree from Smith College, and a Master's from Brown University. She developed programs for second and fourth graders for Milton's A.P.P.L.E. (A Personally Planned Learning Experience) Summer Program for 10 years, and taught Cultural Studies to sixth through eighth graders at the Foundation School in Orange, Connecticut. Becky served on the Head’s Council at Milton Academy, the Board of Trustees of St. Mark’s, and the Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation. She has served as a representative to educational associations including, Independent Schools of Northern New England, Independent Schools of Mid-Coast Maine, and PIN (Parents in Independent School Network).

In 2011, Becky launched her own business, Greenleaf Educational Consulting, organizing secondary school fairs for the mid-coast region and supporting families in their search for the best independent schools. Starting in 1988, Becky has worn many hats at the Riley School, including parent, Lower School Facilitator, Development Director, Trustee, and currently as Head of School.