Executive Director Deliberations

This legislative session has really gotten me to thinking about a number of things regarding education and NDCEL.  What are the true needs of our members?  How are we, and how can we better be a support system that at the end of the day positively impacts kids?  I think that the answer to this lives within some questions that we need to continually ask ourselves.  Without specifically asking these questions, I find many of our members seeking guidance on these issues whenever we converse or are in workgroups together.  I was recently reading an article by Tim Elmore – he was discussing needs our kids have.  Funny how the things he mentioned were so similar to the needs we have – this is probably because they are basic human needs.

Let’s think about some of these pieces.  I’d love for you to share with me your thoughts on these things.  

How can we balance our need to find expression for difficult times in our schools and yet still focus on positive solutions?  In the legislative session, I am constantly reminding our membership and myself to stay focused on positive solutions – that seems to be one of the only ways we can get the legislators to listen.  However, just like anyone else, we have a need to express the troublesome things going one.  Sometimes that is an absolute necessity to help them understand the depth of a problem.  The problem with that self-expression is that often our approach to this is negative and offers no real solutions.  I encourage you to work to channel your expression toward the creation of real solutions – every time. 

How can we meet our need for social capital?  Michael Fullan talked about the importance of social capital to us during our last summer conference.  Deep trust between people that genuinely influence others is a great way to build that political capital.  You earn credibility through them understanding and appreciating your true character.  Some of our newer administrators have not yet learned this fine art – this happens through networking and makes physical attendance at our conferences so critical to their success.  How can we help them build that? 

How do we know when we are ready to learn from our peers and truly grow as an educational leader?  Today’s educational leaders are maturing fast and slow at the same time.  We are being thrust into a world forcing expedient growth in the things that help us just keep our heads above water in our positions.  However, our growth in true leadership is slow, relatively speaking.  I wonder how our office can help navigate through the tough conversations to draw our early leaders into the mix and growth they need?  Will we all step up as mentors to each other, recognize teachable moments, and share them?  Will we accept the help of our peers?     

What are the biggest issues to be resolved in education as we continue to navigate through these waters together?  There are so many problems that sometimes we don’t even know which one to tackle first.  We need to help each other focus on the problems we can each uniquely help solve in the future.  We can easily get bogged down by our issues that we face in our individual worlds.  Sometimes those issues were inherited, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to deal with them.  

Where do we go for guidance and mentoring?  Most of our leaders know where to go for information (or at least they know who to call to ask to get them on the right track), but they don’t often know where to go for personal growth.  You have voices coming at you constantly, you will receive guidance from one source or another, but you will have to determine what to take and what to leave behind.  We must determine our needs for personal growth and figure out the right direction to get it.  I wonder how many of you think you already know all the answers, or if you are like me and are constantly hungry for new information?  

I hope that as we continue to live in this educational world together that you feel like you can come to NDCEL to help point you in the right direction.  I hope we can be that organization you can trust.  I hope that you can all trust me enough to give me honest feedback on what we are doing well and what we need to do better.  I likewise hope that I can always be the type of person who can take that constructive feedback and become better and help to make our organization better.