POUND THE ROCK
“When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.
I first read this inspirational quote in a sports magazine about 10 years ago. The article indicated that Gregg Popovich, coach of the World Champion San Antonio Spurs, had posted the quote in various languages throughout the team clubhouse. Coach Popovich’s intent for posting the quote was very simple: We Never Give Up, We Never Yield to Difficult Challenges, and We Continue to “Pound the Rock” Until our Desired Outcomes are Achieved. As a former athlete and education leader this quote epitomizes both my leadership style and my educational belief system. As a leader, if you “Pound the Instructional Rock” with the same intensity and student centered focus daily the results will be exceptional.
As the educational leader charged with developing, articulating, and implementing a shared vision for the district, it is clear that there are many daily challenges. I believe as a leader, we need to attack issues with a “No Matter What” mentality. The successful leader will accept responsibility and take control regardless of what is going on around them in support of the districts shared vision.
As a leader, it is also vital that we develop a student learning environment that is both nurturing and sustainable well into the future. To achieve this it is very important that we provide professional learning opportunities for staff supported by qualified coaches. I believe the most successful leaders, educators, or coaches possess an “And Then Some” attitude. An exceptional leader will add value to their message by providing “a little something extra” to staff, students, parents, and the community. This might come in the form of support, time or resources.
A leader needs to have an “Abundance Mentality” as they address their daily duties. I believe that there is plenty of knowledge, wisdom and success for everyone. I believe that there is ample room in an organization for everyone to be successful. A true leader is not threatened by someone else’s success. Rather, they support and celebrate the successes of their colleagues with them. They understand that the key to their success is all around them if they merely pay attention and listen. Inefficient leaders let their pride; arrogance and ego get in their way. Our district prides itself in using the collective wisdom of the entire school family to find positive solutions to difficult issues.
A strong educational leader models daily a distinct code of ethics. When asked to help complete a task you can “Consider it Done” at the time you handed over the project. At work, or at home, you cannot straddle integrity. You are either on one side or the other. Leaders have no room in their daily walk for hidden agendas or political games. The integrity we consistently demonstrate helps us develop trust amongst our colleagues. Leaders do what they say they will do and are good on their word. A lack of follow-through can put a leader’s integrity in question. Leading by example is pivotal to ones success in any organization.
A leader needs to be a Champion Goal Setter. They will envision a specific target in their mind. In order to achieve their goal a leader will accurately evaluate their starting point, sets clear deadlines, identifies potential obstacles, determines whose help they may need, and lists those activities required to accomplish the task. It is my opinion that successful leaders immediately take action in responding to the diverse needs of the community. Once the community needs are identified they are diligent in mobilizing the resources needed to make their end goals a reality.
As a leader, we need to recognize that time is a constant. A minute will always be a minute, an hour will always be an hour, time does not go slower or faster. In essence, we do not have control over the rate at which time passes each day. However, as leaders, we do have control over the “Attention” we give to our daily schedule. If our daily priorities are focused on developing a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment, I believe that is what will be achieved. A truly effective leader has a laser like focus on does not allow distractions or procrastination to keep them from meeting the goals identified in their organization. It is an honor and a privilege that the Chowchilla Elementary School District Trustees, staff, and parents have allowed me to be their educational leader.
In Summary: It's all about the kids...
The best interests of students must always come first. As educators, we have a moral obligation to build and sustain the best schools possible. Our schools need to be safe, orderly, and supportive for all students, as we are responsible for the welfare of each and every one of them. Our students need and deserve the very best we have to offer them so that they will someday reach their full potentials and realize their dreams.
The student is...
- The student is the most important person in the school. Without students, there would be no need for schools.
- The student is not someone who is to be “tolerated” so that we can do our thing. They are our thing!
- The student is not dependent upon us. Rather we are dependent upon them.
- The student is not an interruption to our work. We are not doing them a favor by serving them. They are doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so.