School administrators need to be in step as are these four. And being in step as a leader means having the vision not just to stay current with the times but also to be just over the horizon.
As we step into 2008, I pause to reflect on some themes from my first four months back at a school—after nearly a decade away.
- People and relationships: Unlike any other calling, school leaders work with countless individuals and their triumphs/challenges on a daily—make that hourly—basis.
- The unexpected: Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you turn the next corner.
- The thrill of victory: sports scores, grade reports, and classroom observations
- The agony of defeat: sports scores, grade reports, and classroom observations
- Just put a cot in the office: from morning traffic duty to tracking down student rides home after the ball games
- Energy: 1250 teenage students
- Fatigue: constant motion on a 90-acre campus
- Weight loss program: constant motion on a 90-acre campus
- Symphony: big-picture or systems thinking; all puzzle pieces must fit perfectly
- Management: not the most difficult part of the job, but an easy trap in which to get caught
- Instructional Leadership: the high-value, high-touch, high-concept, and transformational pure gold. In a time and place that demands departure from the status quo of high schools in America, the real exercise of extreme school leadership is not to give short shrift to this last bullet.